Since July, wildlife biologist Scott Florin has been spending at least two days a month at Addison Airport. An environmental scientist for Kleinfelder’s office in Denver, Colorado, he will maintain this schedule until July 2014, when he compiles all that he’s learned in the wildlife assessment report that goes first to the FAA and is the basis of the airport’s wildlife management plan. The plan’s goal it to minimize the possible meeting of wildlife and aircraft through preemptive measures.
Describing Addison as a “busy airport with a lot going on,” and “about as urbanized as you can get,” Florin has been impressed with the airport’s proactive wildlife program. The program’s strike reports gave him a good baseline and help him prepare for his monthly visits to Addison. During them he makes timed observations at seven points on the airport and four off the airport property. He occupies each point three times during a visit, documenting everything he sees or hears.
Besides cataloging the animals he sees from each point, Florin says he predicts what might be attracted to the area in the future. “Low lying ground may be dry now, but when it rains the standing water might attract waterfowl.” During every visit he shares what’s he seen with the operations crew so they can address a potential problem, like some animal trying to dig under the fence, immediately. The ops crew joins him on two nocturnal spotlight surveys, driving to various points around the airport to learn what critters are active at night.
The FAA wildlife hazard assessment program has been around for some time, said Florin, and Kleinfelder’s has been conducting them across the nation for eight years. The assessment looks for changes in animals and the habitat that attracts them and devises ways to make the airport property unattractive to them.