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32 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports An airfield driving program should be established at each airport to ensure access control pro- cedures and safe operations. The airfield driving program should be tailored to the individual groups using the airfield. Tenants and contractors will be limited to those areas necessary to per- form their driving operations. Typically, these areas are only ramps, hangar access areas, and areas closed to normal aircraft operations. Airport employee and FAA personnel driving programs will normally include those previously mentioned areas as well as the aircraft movement areas. These programs will be more complex, involving runway markings and signs, airfield lighting, aircraft communications, and specific vehicle requirements. The driving program should include a train- ing session followed by a written test (documentation retained for individuals' files) and a behind- the-wheel road test to ensure proficiency. FAA AC 150/5210-20, Ground Vehicle Operations on Airports, provides guidance for developing ground vehicle operation training programs. Airfield familiarization is the most important component of the airfield driving program. Anyone allowed access to aircraft movement areas needs to be assured of their surroundings and current conditions. The airport environment will look different at night and during low- visibility conditions. In addition, it is essential that the driving program includes vehicle/aircraft radio communication procedures. An airfield driving program should also address the vehicles allowed on the airport, and more important, the aircraft movement areas. Vehicles should be well maintained; should be marked, painted, or lighted for high visibility; and should include working radios with the proper fre- quencies for communication. Additional information can be found in ACs on the FAA website ( Wildlife Hazard Mitigation As a good steward, the airport owner balances the issues of wildlife protection and public pro- tection/wildlife hazard mitigation. Airport owners and operators throughout the nation cite wildlife hazards as the most prevalent and realistic concern for the flying public's safety. Regardless of an airport's location, wildlife is a concern. Whether it is migratory waterfowl, deer, coyotes, or reptiles enjoying the warmth of the runway pavement, wildlife inadvertently poses a threat to public safety. It is important to assess an airport's wildlife hazard situation to determine the hazard level. During airfield inspections, any visible wildlife, as well as the time, location, and methods used to remove any wildlife hazard presence, should be noted. This documentation is valuable for assessing the threat, assisting with the development of a hazard mitigation program, and recording proactive mitigation. Demonstrating proactive mitigation will help the airport owner's defense in the event of an aircraft accident involving wildlife at the airport. Several effective methods have been developed over the years to successfully mitigate wildlife hazards at airports. Unfortunately, every airport environment and wildlife situation is unique. An airport manager should establish a strong relationship with a local wildlife professional. These individuals are well educated with particular species, habitats, and annual rituals and can help develop a successful program to protect the wildlife and the public. Additional wildlife mitigation is provided on the FAA website ( Preferred practices obtained from the survey conducted when developing this guidebook include vegetation control, fencing, proactive hazing, and installation of a lightweight string between the airport's access area and a nearby water source to deter walking geese from entering. Methods for Reducing Wildlife Hazards Methods for reducing wildlife hazards on an airfield fall into two major categories: legal/ liability and operational. Wildlife logs, strike reporting, wildlife hazard assessment, wildlife

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Airport Operations 33 hazard management plans, and wildlife hazard working groups are methods that consider legal/liability issues. Exclusion, repellents, hazing, harassment, shooting, and trapping are meth- ods that consider operational issues. Techniques for Legal/Liability Issues. Recent court cases dealing with wildlife control have established that liability is born by the airport operator. These court cases have also made clear the need to Document all wildlife control efforts, Obtain opinions from wildlife biologists, and Establish requirements for issuing NOTAMs for existing hazards. Documenting all wildlife control activities protects both the airport manager and the airport. Airport managers should conduct an inspection of the airfield every day and document any wildlife seen (or not seen). These wildlife logs also provide a historical record of wildlife activity at the air- port. If Canada geese tend to be seen only in September, the airport can prepare before the Canada geese arrive. A log also identifies wildlife population reductions or increases and makes employees aware of wildlife hazards. A wildlife hazard assessment and wildlife hazard management plan are generally recommended for Part 139 airports rather than general aviation airports. Part 139 airports are required by the FAA to conduct a wildlife hazard assessment when either a significant wildlife strike has occurred or a wildlife species or numbers capable of causing such a strike are on an airport. The assessment doc- uments wildlife species, numbers, seasonal use patterns, behavior, and attractive habitat features at the airport and provides recommendations to mitigate these hazards. A wildlife hazard manage- ment plan, which is created if required after an assessment, outlines a wildlife hazard management program specific to the airport. A first step in reducing wildlife hazards is to identify attractive habitats on the airfield. These could consist of open water, ponding areas, or nesting and perching sites or food sources such as landfills, waste transfer stations, or agriculture. Removing these habitat areas is an effective way to avoid attracting wildlife to the airport. Tools and Techniques for Operational Issues. Variety is the key to any wildlife control pro- gram. Using more than one technique has proven to be more effective than using the same method every day to control wildlife. Maintenance activities include Removing trash and litter, Covering garbage cans and dumpsters, Removing dead animals from the field, and Prohibiting wildlife feeding. Exclusion--such as fencing, putting grids along culverts, placing pin wire on top of lights or signs, or using duct tape to cover holes used for nesting--can help eliminate wildlife on an airport. Covering retention ponds and installing bird netting along hangars and buildings are other exclu- sion methods. Using chemical repellents is another way to help control wildlife at an airport. These repellants may be cost-prohibitive for large areas, however, because they must be reapplied after rain or mowing. Active wildlife hazard management techniques include hazing or harassment, removal, trap and relocation (which is usually not recommended and is against state statute for most species),

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34 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports and egg or nest destruction. Other alternatives include the use of remote control planes, dogs, fal- cons, or effigy. Pyrotechnics are a common way to scare birds from the airport. Twelve-gauge cracker shot, 15 mm launchers, and screamers and bangers are useful pyrotechnics. Scare devices, which are also used to haze and harass wildlife, include propane cannons, distress-cry generators, horns and sirens, Mylar tape, and scare-eye balloons. Shooting with a rifle or a shotgun is an effective way to reinforce hazing and harassing tech- niques and to remove hazardous wildlife. Trapping wildlife may also be effective for certain species. Federal and State Involvement Several federal and state agencies can help when working with wildlife control at an airport. They include the FAA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Defense, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), and the state agency responsible for managing wildlife resources. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a federal law that protects all birds except English sparrows, pigeons, and starlings. The CFR lists all federally protected birds. The CFR also covers the dif- ferent types of permits needed to remove wildlife. Airports must get a depredation permit to lethally remove wildlife from an airfield. The USFWS grants federal permits to airports to lethally remove migratory birds. It also pro- vides biological opinions on proposed federal activities that may affect federally listed endangered or threatened species. The USDA Wildlife Services recommends the issuance of a permit for an airport to the USFWS. Individual state agencies may also issue state permits to take mammals and birds. Both a state and federal permit may be needed in some cases, and both permits must be in sync with one another. For example, if the federal permit allows taking 50 Canada geese, then the state permit should also say that 50 Canada geese can be taken. The Department of Defense has a wildlife strike reduction organization: the U.S. Air Force's Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) team. The BASH team documents and records wildlife strikes on military aircraft in a database similar to the FAA/Wildlife Services database for strikes on civilian aircraft. Because of low-level high-speed flights, the military experiences a large number of bird strikes. The EPA works with the FAA on wetland projects. The EPA also approves or disapproves land- fill sites and pesticides. ACE deals primarily with the federal Clean Water Act. It issues permits required for wetland filling or disturbance. Permits Federal permits issued by the USFWS protect migratory birds, and state permits issued by the state's wildlife management agency protect birds and mammals. Any protected bird except the bald eagle can be hazed or harassed without a permit. A state and federal permit is required to remove gulls, waterfowl, wading birds, raptors, and other protected birds. A fed- eral or state permit is not needed for crows, blackbirds, or magpies if they are causing dam- age or are a hazard. Finally, permits are typically not required to take starlings, English sparrows, and pigeons but airport staff should abide by city ordinances if the airport is within the city limits.