Construction projects on and near airports have the potential to create wildlife attracting habitat. These attractants may increase the hazardous wildlife activity near the airfield. FAA Advisory Circular 150/5200-33B advises airports against the creation of specific wildlife attracting habitats within certain separation zones to reduce the potential of increasing the presence of hazardous wildlife near the airfield. However, airports should also be aware that a variety of other types of construction projects on and near the airfield can still attract hazardous wildlife. In addition, buildings can also become an attractant.
..Standing Water due to poorly graded surface
Any construction project proposed to take place on an airfield should be evaluated by a qualified airport wildlife biologist to ensure that the proposed project does not create any wildlife attracting habitat. Projects that are both large and small in scale can often overlook the development of some type of wildlife attractant. Potential attractants can include, but are not limited to: the creation of roosting/perching locations; establishment of open water sources in retention basins, drainage ditches or low-lying areas; creation of cover and nesting habitat; and creation of food sources. A qualified airport wildlife biologist can analyze project proposals to identify potential areas that can attract wildlife, and suggest alternatives that reduce the attractiveness of a feature without compromising the entire project.
Active construction on the airfield can also increase wildlife activity during and after the actual development of a project. Construction sites often remove vegetative cover, exposing soils. Exposed soils can attract a variety of gulls, killdeer, horned larks and crows to the area searching for food. Removal of vegetative cover can also create low lying areas that can collect water following storm events. Open water sources on an airfield are significant attractants to waterfowl, gulls, shorebirds and wading birds. Airports should establish a monitoring program during construction activities to ensure that wildlife numbers remain at or below background levels during construction. In addition, airports should require that all construction sites have covered trash containers, in so that workers do not inadvertently attract wildlife to trash or other debris.
Airports should also actively participate in local zoning boards to monitor and evaluate any potential land development within 5 miles of the airfield. The airport should encourage offsite properties that are being developed be evaluated by a qualified wildlife biologist, especially when developments are located within 10,000 feet of the airport boundaries.
Many local, state and federal regulations may contradict the FAA guidelines to reduce attracting habitats on and near airfields. These regulations can cause potential conflicts that may limit the airports ability to maintain a safe flying environment. Airports should still effectively try to reduce or mitigate the development of habitats attracting hazardous wildlife. Any efforts by the airport to request exemptions from regulators that require the introduction of wildlife hazards should be well documented.