Wednesday, January 18, 2012

TEXAS: Arlington Municipal Airport (KGKY) to Look at Ways to Discourage Critters. Airport hopes study shows how to keep wildlife out. (With Video)

The Arlington Municipal Airport is looking at ways to keep unwanted wildlife off its grounds.

The airport is home to dozens of airplanes, but everything from coyotes to feral hogs can be also spotted at the facility.

“We see coyotes in abundance," said Karen Vanwinkle, airport assistant manager. "We also see raccoons and on occasion a beaver. We also see small types of mammals such as field mice and possum and, of course, we do see migratory birds as well.”

The airport has received a grant to conduct a 12-monthlong wildlife assessment to determine what steps it should take to keep wildlife out.

“The nice thing about the wildlife hazard assessment is that we hope to learn natural techniques to mitigate the effect the wildlife have on our operations,” Vanwinkle said.

Such techniques could range from how the grass is mowed to what types of plant seed are used.

Animals access the airport grounds from nearby woods and creeks.

Up to now, the animals merely have been a nuisance, but officials say they can be much more.

The animals can be dangerous -- birds can get caught in engines, and feral hogs can tamper with landing equipment such as lighting.

“We can see wildlife on any part of the airport, particularly our coyotes are on the west side of the airport, but occasionally they like to send themselves on the runway,” Vanwinkle said.

Air traffic controllers usually spot the animals right away and dispatch crews to chase them away, she said.

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