Template for the Development of an Airport Wildlife Management Plan

SECTION B: AIRPORT WILDLIFE
MANAGEMENT PLAN

13. Review of Available Wildlife Management Measures

Generally, there are tools and techniques available to manage wildlife hazards associated with airports at an acceptable risk level. Approaches to minimizing the potential for serious strikes at airports have focused on five primary areas (after Jackson, 2001). These are:

  1. Manipulating habitat and access to habitat at or near the airport ("passive");
  2. Dispersing, removing or excluding wildlife from the airport ("active");
  3. Influencing land use decisions around the airport where they may increase the hazard to aircraft;
  4. Development of systems to warn of bird strike potential; and
  5. Development of aircraft and engines able to withstand bird strikes.

In this AWMP, the concern is related to the first three approaches.

Critical to the success of any wildlife management program is the human factor and the development of a Safety Management Systems approach (see Transport Canada, 2001a). This encourages the application of the three "Cs" of leadership. These are:

  • Commitment: wildlife management requires commitment at all levels from Senior Management to technical field staff. The available tools must be made to work effectively;
  • Cognizance: recognizing the hazards and risks and what needs to be done, when, and how, are key to wildlife successful wildlife management; and
  • Competence: having adequately trained staff that have the ability to "out-think" the wildlife, identify and properly apply the appropriate tools is critical to successful wildlife management. For example, this may involve considering any consequential effects of managing one species on the abundance of another.

In this Section of the AWMP a brief overview of wildlife management techniques is provided in tabular format, based primarily on the Wildlife Control Procedures Manual (Transport Canada, 2002). The Manual provides much more detail on these techniques and should be consulted directly. However, they are repeated here to provide a ready summary of available techniques to compare against the hazard and risk assessments for this airport. It is important to link the actions being taken back to the hazard and risk assessment, as these prioritize the actions to be undertaken.

The active methods are primarily directed at the immediate airport environment. Additional techniques may be available for specific off-site applications (e.g., over-wiring active landfill facilities).

13.1 Passive Techniques

These techniques are generally those that alter habitat or permanently exclude entry (Table 13). Experienced wildlife managers know very well that measures to deter or exclude one species (e.g., short grass) will inevitably attract another species. There is an overriding principle that should be followed with habitat alteration: the minimization of habitat diversity. More diverse habitat means more diverse wildlife species. Managing one particular group of wildlife species can be easier than addressing a mosaic of species attracted by a variety of habitats through the seasons.

Table 13. Passive Wildlife Management Techniques

Examples Suggested Approaches (see Wildlife Control Procedures
Manual for more details)

Cropland

• Generally none within 365 m of a runway
• Limit to: hay, alfalfa, flax, soy, fall rye, wheat, barley and other cereals, not corn or oats
• Avoid ploughing - require night-time ploughing, haying; other harvesting controls and no standing bales

Grass

• Manage height according to hazards at the airport
• Adaptive management, experimental manipulation at individual airports
• Avoid allowing grass to set seed, seed-head suppression

Buildings

• Ensure entry holes/crevices blocked, screened, netting
• Influence design of new buildings, slope ledges
• Porcupine wire, electric shocking, sticky caulking

Open water, ponds, ditches, stormwater ponds, poorly
drained areas

• Drain, improve drainage
• Fill, over-wire, netting, BirdBallsT
• Grade slopes steeply, remove vegetation
• Trap mammals (e.g., American Beaver and Muskrat)

Shrubs, trees, brush, hedges, woodland

• Remove, including undergrowth and understorey layers
• Reduce biodiversity, habitat niches

Infield perching features

• Remove
• Apply spikes when required

Waste storage

• All disposal containers must be wildlife proof
• Eliminate dumps on the airport

Outdoor picnic areas

• Signage
• Provide wildlife proof garbage containers

All remaining habitats, airport perimeter

• Chain-link fencing, high-tensile fixed knot fencing,
• ElectroBraidT fencing,
• Buried fences
• One-way gates, cattle gates.

Aircraft

• Ensure that bird nesting does not occur within parked aircraft, generally from April 01 to July 30 in Canada.

13.2 Active Techniques

Active techniques fall into two major subgroups. These are:

  1. Dispersal (various kinds of deterrents, hazing); and
  2. Removal (live capture, killing).

In the following table (Table 14), the relative efficacy of various techniques is also indicated. Many of these techniques are effective when used as part of an integrated program (e.g., playback of distress calls), but can be markedly ineffective when used incorrectly. For example, birds easily habituate to the playback call in the absence of other management techniques.

Because wildlife species often habituate to non-lethal threats within a few weeks, in the long-term, dispersal techniques are seldom effective unless a clear and present danger is presented to the target species (e.g., with a dog, raptor or live gunshot). The management challenge is to keep wildlife guessing when the threat is real, and when it is not.

Table 14. Active Wildlife Management Techniques

  Technique Primary Targets Potential Efficacy
as Part of an Integrated Program

Non-lethal

Pyrotechnics Birds, some mammals High
Gas cannons Birds, especially migrants Moderate
Report Shells Soaring birds (e.g., gulls) High
Lasers Birds, especially roosting Moderate
Falconry Birds High
Border Collies Birds, some mammals High to moderate
Live trapping Birds, some mammals Low to moderate
Chemical - irritants Birds Low
Playback of distress calls - remote system Birds Low to moderate
Playback - mobile Birds Moderate to high
Flags Birds Low to moderate
Dead specimen birds Birds Moderate
Chemical - behavioural repellents Birds, mammals (on cables) Moderate
Radio-controlled models Birds Low (can be higher)

Lethal

Lethal trapping Small mammals Low
Chemical - lethal control Birds in buildings, mammals High to moderate
Chemical - Benomyl/Tersan fungicide Fungus in turf but kills earthworms Moderate
Earthworm sweeping Earthworms on hard surfaces Moderate to high
Surfactant water sprays Roosting birds Moderate
Live-ammunition shooting Birds, some mammals High

The advantages and disadvantages of each of these techniques, and the different forms of these techniques, are discussed and reviewed in the Wildlife Control Procedures Manual (Transport Canada, 2002b) and in Aerodrome Safety Circular 98-004- TP13029- Evaluation of the Efficacy of Products and Techniques for Airport Bird Control (1998).

13.3 Firearms

Firearms are heavily restricted and special permits are required. Special training is required before they are used in or around this airport.

In addition, the use of firearms in Canada (e.g., shotguns, but not typical pyrotechnic launchers) requires the possession of a PAL (Possession and Acquisition Licence). To obtain this licence it is necessary for the individual licence holder to undertake the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. A Federal Registration Certificate is also required for individual firearms that identifies to whom they belong. More information can be accessed at: http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/en/default.asp.

When using firearms, empty casings shall be recovered; they can cause serious damage when ingested into turbine aircraft engines.

13.4 Other Permit Requirements

Wildlife management personnel must ensure that all appropriate permits are in place and current prior to operations commencing. This should include the following.

Migratory Birds - Migratory Birds Convention Act

Regulations under this Act protect most bird species, including gulls (but excluding, for example, crows and blackbirds) and permits are required for active scaring as well as killing. Therefore, an application should be made for both a scare permit and a kill permit. The kill permit application will need to carefully establish the need for a kill permit, explain the limited use to which the permit will be put and the manner in which lethal reinforcement and other alternate deterrents will be used. The permits are issued by [Insert local CWS office].

Provincial and Territorial Regulations

Provincial and Territorial regulations may require a Small Game Licence, or similar, to hunt or trap crows, selected blackbirds and most mammals. In Ontario, for example, the licenced individual will also require an Outdoors Card (hunter version) and must attend a Hunter Education Course and pass the Hunting Licence Examination. More information for Ontario can be accessed at http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/pubmenu.html. The use of some chemicals may also be controlled, and provincial or territorial regulations should be consulted. [Insert provincial/territorial regulations that do apply here.]

Local By-Laws - Discharge of Firearms

Many urban and suburban municipalities have discharge of firearm By-laws in place that restrict the use of firearms. In these cases, it may be necessary to apply to the local authority for an exemption from a firearm discharge By-law, for wildlife management purposes. [Determine this and insert here.]

13.5 Outside Airport Boundaries

Although most wildlife management activities detailed in this plan will take place within the airport limits, where most wildlife strikes occur, the immediate surroundings of airports are increasingly being scrutinized as critical sources for wildlife species that either visit the airport or pass through conflict zones.

In some circumstances, airports may extend their active or passive wildlife management activities beyond the airport boundary. However, the typical tool kit for influencing land use activities outside of the airport discussion and persuasion. The following approaches can be used to influence activities outside the airport.

Airport Zoning Regulations

Airport Zoning Regulations that are established under the Authority of the Aeronautics Act, Section 5.4(2) could be enacted to prohibit land use activities that have been identified as hazardous to aircraft operations. As of July 2004, 55 airports across Canada have a Waste Disposal Clause contained within their zoning regulations.

Government Planners

Engagement in the local planning process is critical to influencing land use change around the airport. The airport operator can open a dialogue with planners, provide materials and copies of the AWMP, and provide a presentation every two years or so on land use issues that affect the airport. It is important to keep this information current and to include all planning partners (i.e., in the case where the airport zone of influence straddles two jurisdictions or where there are two or more tiers of planning authority). In some cases, local Official Plans refer applicants to seek consultation with the Airport Managers when certain changes in land use activities are proposed near the airport.

Local Government

Providing an occasional presentation on wildlife issues at the airport to local, city or regional council is an important step in influencing future land use change applications, Many proponents will "test the water" with local politicians prior to launching a full scale development application. Having wildlife concerns identified at the earliest possible stage will help encourage positive outcomes.

Land Users

The users of lands around the airport can be engaged in a dialogue with the airport. This may be more easily facilitated when these landowners have a direct interest in the airport (e.g., a local farmer who also crops hay within the airport boundary). However, this does not mean that other land users should be excluded. An open house to discuss hazard issues, safety, potential liability, what land users can do to help and how the airport might able to assist the land users is a useful start. Specific problems may indicate a need to contact individual land users.

Regulatory Agencies

Regulatory agencies may influence a variety of projects from wildlife habitat creation to the design of stormwater management facilities. Without knowledge within the agency of wildlife strike issues, proponents of land use change may find themselves pulled in two different directions. The kinds of agencies that need to be regularly updated on airport wildlife issues include federal, provincial and municipal authorities such as: Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, provincial ministries responsible for natural heritage and land and water resources and Conservation Authorities (or other flood and fill-oriented agencies).

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Some of the larger national or provincial NGOs may be involved in habitat creation initiatives and maybe included in a stakeholder group (e.g., Ducks Unlimited Canada). Others, such as natural history groups or humane societies, may become important to the airport if wildlife control, especially lethal control, is included as part of the AWMP. Organized public opposition can influence a variety of permit applications, it is therefore important to ensure that these groups are included when appropriate.

In some circumstances the striking of a stakeholder committee (a "Wildlife Management Committee") may help foster awareness and support for management actions and the airport will consider establishing such a committee should the need arise.

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