SER provides field and advisory services for clients in the aviation industry. Since the January 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson” incident, the FAA has stepped up its efforts to complete Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHA) and Wildlife Hazard Management Plans (WHMP) for Part 139 airports across the country. In order to reduce the potential for aviation related wildlife collisions, airports that provide commercial carrier services must assess the potential for wildlife related collisions (WHA) and have a plan in place (WHMP) to reduce conditions that attract wildlife as well as deterrents to the presence of wildlife on and around the aircraft movement area (AMA) which includes, runways, taxiways and other areas used for taxiing, takeoff and landing of aircraft.
Airports, due to their size, location and security fencing frequently provide ideal on-airport habitat especially in urban areas with golf courses and water bodies and more so when airports are located away from urban areas and surrounded by fields, forests, wetlands, and occasionally poorly managed landfills.
Hazards are those things which pose an opportunity for an accident. A single wheel that has come loose from a vehicle poses no risk on a highway that has no traffic. The same is true for multiple wheels and debris. With no traffic, there is no opportunity for an accident. As the volume of traffic increases or as the size and number of items on the highway increases, the opportunity for an accident increases and the risk factor rises. Wildlife on and around an airport is the debris on the highway – type, size and number of wildlife species have an effect on risk potential as does the type and volume of air traffic.
The purpose of the WHA is to identify the wildlife attractants on and around the airport, the species attracted, numbers, and potential risk associated with those species. If the risks are determined to be significant, a WHMP is needed.
SER has the experience and capability to complete both WHAs and WHMPs. Our team includes experienced and capable airport wildlife biologists who go beyond collecting the data and who can offer creative, cost-effective solutions to identifying hazards and managing risks. Our approach to the project is to assign at least one senior airport wildlife biologist to a project who participates in the survey process which takes 12 or 13 months according to FAA WHA guidance. In addition, we use local wildlife experts as observers who are familiar with local habitats and wildlife. The combination of individual experienced airport wildlife biologists along with local wildlife specialists creates a top-notch team that can cost effectively address the FAA requirements for a thorough and complete WHA.