FAA Wildlife Strike Mitigation Documents


ACRP Report 32, A Guidebook for Addressing Aircraft/Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports

ACRP Report 32, A Guidebook for Addressing Aircraft/Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports is an excellent FAA-funded report produced by the Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program.  All airports—GA and commercial—have a legal responsibility to provide a safe aircraft operating environment.  ACRP Report 32 is a wildlife management guidebook for general aviation airport personnel designed to assist them in providing the safest environment possible in an efficient manner. The guidebook discusses the different species that can be found at airports and specific information that will be helpful in identifying and controlling numbers, especially of the most hazardous species. Also discussed are various wildlife attractants and best management practices airport operators can use to minimize wildlife activity at and around airports. While we highly recommend you read the entire report (Click Here To Read the Entire Report), Loomacres has summarized many of the main points for your convenience (Click Here to Read Our Summary).  General aviation (GA) airports are usually “resource constrained,” a fancy way to say they have limited money, equipment and staff.  Many GA airports are manned by only one or two people whose duties range from managing the airport to moving snow and mowing grass. While these folks are generally very well aware of wildlife using the airport, they seldom have the background and training to properly manage wildlife hazards.  Plinking at rabbits and gophers with a .22 might be fun, but does not constitute a wildlife hazard management program.  This is where ACRP 32 and Loomacres can help.

 

 

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Guidebook for Addressing Aircraft/Wildlife Hazards at GA Airports

 

ACRP Report 125: Balancing Airport Stormwater and Bird Hazard Management

The main goal of the research project discussed in this report is to address risk assessment for storm water and its attractiveness to water dependent bird species on airports. Storm water best management practices (BMP) are used to control the quantity and quality of storm water on airports. The FAA provides guidelines to address storm water management and to help minimize the attraction for wildlife. ACRP 125 introduces the Bird Strike Risk Analysis and Storm Water Management Decision Tool, explains the development of the tool, and provides detailed directions for its use. The main goal of the tool is to assist airports with evaluating opportunities to balance both storm water management and wildlife hazard management. The tool is specifically designed to calculate the risk of strikes from water dependent bird species. The tool does not consider mammals, herpetofauna, or bird species not dependent on water features, making it less useful for overall risk analysis. In addition, airports without significant bird strike data will find the tool less useful. The tool does not allow for cumulative assessment and each bird species must be assessed individually which could create a significant time commitment at an airport with multiple water dependent bird species. The tool is used in Microsoft Excel 2010, and is designed for ease of use with drop down menus. Weighted risk factors can be adjusted to address site specific concerns. The intent of the tool is integration with an overall management plan. It can potentially be used to demonstrate potential risks and facilitate discussions and negotiations with regulators and contractors. ACRP 125 includes detailed directions for the use of the tool, the research approach used in designing the tool, a table of water dependent bird species available for analysis, a regulatory matrix, and a case study summary.



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FAA Cert Alert 16-03 -Recommended Wildlife Exclusion Fencing

Elevated deer and coyote populations in the United States represent an increasingly serious threat to both Commercial and General Aviation Aircraft. According to the National Wildlife Strike Database, deer and coyote are the most frequently struck terrestrial mammals (37 and 34 percent, respectively). Deer are responsible for 92 percent of the mammal strikes that resulted in damage. From 1990 to 2015, over 1,107 deer-aircraft collisions and 487 coyote-aircraft collisions were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  Of these reports, 932 of the deer strikes (84%) and 43 of the coyote strikes (9%) indicated the aircraft was damaged as a result of the collision.



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Adversary Circular Obstruction Marking and Lighting AC No: 70/7460-1L (December 4, 2015)

Aircraft tower warning light configurations are likely to be changing soon, in order to help protect migrating birds. Researchers tested a variety of lighting schemes over several years. It was discovered that birds are less likely to become attracted to flashing lights- rather than the steady-burning lights currently utilized. The solid lights disorient the birds, causing them to impact towers and tower structures; the flashing lights do not appear to share this effect.

 

The FCC has requested that the FAA begin to develop warning light configurations which flash or strobe, rather than the current solid beacons. There is a possibility that solid beacons will be eliminated completely from towers. Flashing warning lights were given a test-run in northern Michigan and found to provide adequate warning compared to solid beacons. As a result, the FAA has revised the Advisory Circular regarding aircraft warning lights as of December 2015. Newly constructed towers must utilize the new guidelines, and existing towers must now implement a plan to upgrade to the new standard. The new guidelines can be found in AC 70/7460-1L. The new standard is effective immediately, and becomes mandatory by 15 September 2016.

 

While this is a step in the right direction for bird conservation, it is also a step in the right direction for airport safety. Birds migrate using a variety of navigational aids. Some are thought to be aided by magnetic fields, and diurnal raptors are thought to utilize landmarks and terrain features. Most passerines, however, migrate in large flocks at night. Research has demonstrated that these night migrants are navigating celestially- using the moon and the stars to find their way in the dark.

 

These celestial migrants often fall victim to light pollution. Areas inundated with unnatural night-time light cause birds to become confused and disoriented. They often become lost near major cities, striking buildings and structures, which include airport towers. By transitioning to flashing, rather than static beacons, airfields are less likely to attract large concentrations of nocturnally migrating songbirds. This limits the potential for collision. It has the added effect of making the airfield a less likely stopover point, where the birds rest and feed in the daylight, as the migrants will not be drawn in by light.


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FAA Advisory Circular No. 150/5200-32B Reporting Wildlife Aircraft Strikes (May 31, 2013)

Outlines the importance of reporting wildlife strikes and the procedures to do so. Reporting strikes is important because it provides more data to accurately estimate the amount of damage caused by wildlife collisions. It also provides more information on when and where the majority of these strikes are taking place. Identification of bird species involved in these collisions is extremely important because it allows wildlife managers to make better decisions regarding what species are causing the most damage/danger at a given airport. Includes recent improvements to the FAA Bird/Other Wildlife Strike Reporting system, the types of animal strikes that should be reported, how to report the strike incident, and what happens to and how to access the data.


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Wildlife Hazard Management Plan Annual Review (May 31, 2013)

This is a form for the annual review of a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan. The names of all operators involved in the review must be provided. Summaries of data analysis, progress/challenges of managing the most significant wildlife attractants, progress/challenges in direct wildlife hazard management must also be provided. The changes needed for management strategies, documentation, Wildlife Hazard Working Group membership/objectives, airport training programs, and the WHMP are also identified



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FAA Advisory Circular No. 150/5200-36A- Qualifications for Wildlife Biologist Conducting Wildlife Hazard Assessments and Training Curriculums for Airport Personnel Involved in Controlling Wildlife Hazards on Airports (January 31, 2012)

Specifies the wildlife hazard management curriculum provided to airport personnel involved in implementing an FAA- approved WHMP. Identifies the qualifications for wildlife biologists conducting WHA for certificated airports.


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FAA CertAlert 09-10-Wildlife Hazard Assessments in Accordance with Part 139 Requirements (June 11, 2009)

Describes the requirements in 14 C.F.R. 139.337 to conduct a WHA when a triggering event occurs. Specifies the content of the assessment and qualifications for the person conducting the assessment and the required content of the assessment report. Identifies the FAA concern that airport operators that have had triggering events have not conducted a WHA as required by the FAA regulations.

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FAA CertAlert 97-09- Wildlife Hazard Management Plan Outline (November 17, 1997)

Describes the WHA’s purpose as the mechanism to provide an ecological study to provide the scientific basis for WHMP development, implementation, and revision. Explains the extent to which the WHA content may be used to develop the WHMP.

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FAA Advisory Circular No. 150/5200-33B- Hazardous Wildlife Attractants On or Near Airports (August 28, 2007)

Wildlife attractants on and/or near airports are identified and defined. Included in these attractants are any type of waste disposal/transfer stations, water treatment facilities, wetlands, open water, agricultural activities, golf course and similarly landscaped areas, and dredge spoil containment. The synergistic effects of multiple attractants are also presented. Guidelines for operating in these areas, and reducing the danger they pose, are also shown. The separation distances of these attractants from the AOA and approach, departure, and circling area of different airport types are also provided.


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FAA Advisory Circular No. 150/5200-34A Construction or Establishment of Landfills near Public Airports (January 26, 2006)

Describes the required separation distance prescribed by federal law between a new municipal solid waste landfill and public airport. Landfills where construction began on or before April 5, 2000 are exempt from this statute. Existing landfills that began modifications before this date are also exempt. These restrictions also do not apply to airports that receive federal funding and primarily serve GA aircraft with less than 60 passengers. Any person that requires exemption from this restriction must petition the FAA before construction is started on a MSWLF.


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FAA Advisory Circular No. 70-1- Outdoor Laser Operations (December 30, 2004)

Describes the requirement and process for airport operators to provide notice to the FAA of planned outdoor laser operations.


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Air Force Pamphlet 91-212 Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Management Techniques (April 1, 1997)

Air Force pamphlet 91-212 contains information regarding wildlife hazards at military airdromes. BASH plans are drafted in regards to reduce wildlife hazards in compliance with military operations. A BASH plan divides hazard reduction into four categories; awareness, control, avoidance and aircraft design. BASH plan follow the similar outlines to a WHMP at commercial airports in that active and passive management strategies are utilized. Active management techniques include harassment with pyrotechnics, bioacoustics and depredation. Passive strategies include grassland management and reduction of attractants on the airfield. In addition, BASH plans can incorporate procedures to follow for flight operations. For example, when multiple aircraft are to take of repeatedly, delaying the second take-off roll following the lead aircraft can reduce the potential hazards due to the possibility of birds flushing after the first aircraft. The pamphlet also highlights that chain of command, strike reporting procedures and communication channels that are to be utilized to convey wildlife hazards at a specific installation. The differences in reporting are adapted to military reporting and are not a duplicate to commercial strike reports. Wildlife strikes occurring on an airdrome are to be reported to the Air Force Safety Automated System. Additional information is included regarding low-level operations, in which aircraft are operating with greater exposure to bird flight environments. The low-level bird avoidance model is a GIS tool that can be used to identify key flight times and species movements for a given location.


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FAA CertAlert 06-07- Requests by State Wildlife Agencies to Facilitate and Encourage Habitat For State-Listed Threatened and Endangered Species and Species of Special Concern on Airports (November 21, 2006)

State wildlife agencies have requested that habitats for state-listed threatened and endangered species be facilitated/encouraged on/near airports. The AOA is an artificial environment that may attract some of these species where they may not normally occur. By facilitating the occurrence of these species, the threat of wildlife hazard to aviation may also increase. Airport operators must decline to adopt management practices that jeopardize aviation safety. It is recommended that airport operators adhere to all FAA regulations and that safety must always be more important than threatened and endangered species habitat on an airport. Airports may also mitigate wetland and other habitat losses when able at off-site locations.

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FAA CertAlert No. 02-06- Access to the FAA National Wildlife Aircraft Strike Database (October 1, 2002)

Describes aircraft wildlife strike information available in the FAA National Wildlife Aircraft Strike Database for airport operators, airline operators, and FAA airport certification safety inspectors. Provides instruction on obtaining access to the information in the database.

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FAA CertAlert 13-01 Federal and State Depredation Permit Assistance (January 30, 2013)

Outlines the need for airports to acquisition state and federal depredation permits to manage hazardous species. Specifies permits required to manage any federally threatened or endangered, species of special concern or bald/golden eagles. Provides links to state wildlife agencies and an application for the USFWS Migratory Bird Depredation Permit.

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FAA CertAlert 98-05- Grasses Attractive to Hazardous Wildlife (September 21, 1998)

Includes recommendations for airport operators to eliminate and reduce the use of specified grass species (millets, clover, etc..) and other varieties of plants attractive to hazardous wildlife species on airport property

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FAA CertAlert 14-01 Seasonal Mitigation of Hazardous Species at Airports: Attention to Snowy Owls (February 13, 2014)

This document is to raise awareness of transient hazardous wildlife, especially snowy owls (Bubo scandiacus). Describes biology, habits and methods of managing snowy owls in an airport setting.

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FAA CertAlert 03-03- Guidelines for Submitting Bird Strike Feather Remains for Identification (August 29, 2003)

Describes the process for collecting and submitting feather or other bird and wildlife remains for species identification.

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FAA CertAlert 04-16-Deer Hazard to Aircraft and Deer Fencing (December 13, 2004)

Due to their increasing population and tendency to habituate to human environments, including airports, deer pose a significant threat to aviation. Collisions with deer often result in damage to the aircraft due to the large body mass of the deer. Proper fencing is the best deterrent for keeping deer out of movement areas. The FAA recommends a 10-12 foot fence with a 3-strand barbed wire outrigger. This fence can also have a 4 foot skirt buried under the fence at a 45 degree angle to prevent dig outs and wash outs. Also, fence gates should have gaps of less than 6 inches. When installation of a chain link fence is not feasible, electric fences may also be effective. Immediate action must be taken to remove deer observed in movement areas.

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Bulletin 2010-03 -Wildlife Hazard Management Plan Review Check list (February 4, 2010)

14 CFR Part 139 Section 337 states that certificate holders are required to implement a wildlife mitigation plan using the WHA as a basis to demonstrate effective management of wildlife hazards. It also states that a checklist is provided that promotes efficient inspection of 139.337 regulations during annual reviews of WHMP and Airport Certification Safety Inspection.

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Program Guidance Letter 16-01 Wildlife Hazard Site Visits (April 12th, 2016)

On April 12th, 2016, the FAA has released the Program Guidance Letter 16-01: Wildlife Hazard Site Visits & Associated Follow-up Actions. The FAA has summarize d that wildlife management studies including Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHA) and Wildlife Hazard Site Visits ( WHSV) provide safety recommendations to eliminate, reduce or mitigate wildlife hazards and associated attractant s at airports. Previously, the AIP Handbook, FAA Order 5100.38D required that certain capital development related to wildlife hazard mitigation be included as part o f a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan (WHMP) or as part o f a Part 139 Letter of Correction to be eligible for AI P funding. Having a WHMP ensures that airport takes responsibi lity for all recommendations from the WHA, including tho se that do not require capital investment. Based on th is guidance letter by the FAA, these concepts are to b e extended to airports that only conduct a WHSV.

 

Included within the guidance letter, the FAA has pr ovided a simplified “Adoption of Wildlife Hazard Site Visit Recommendations” form that can be completed by the airport sponsor upon completion of a WHSV. The form may be submitted to the FAA prior to application for AIP funding for eligible projects. Airports under a black grant state will have to have the state collect and review the infor mation on behalf of the FAA. The AIP Handbook will be edited to further clarify this req uirement. The completed form would outline all recommendations from the WHSV that are accepted or not accepted, including those that do not require capital investment. If a recommendation from the WHSV was not accepted by the airport sponsor, an explanation must be provided.

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