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Wildlife hazards at Riverton Regional Airport to be checked

May 15, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

No black magpies or antelope will escape the close watch of careful wildlife biologists in the coming months at Riverton Regional Airport.

Personnel from Loomacres Wildlife will be looking for wildlife roaming near the airport as a set of wildlife assessments begins in the next few weeks.

Their crews have already received required training so they can maneuver their way around the airport safely.

"They were trained on where to be and where not to be," Griffin said. "They will also meet with us quarterly and update us on what's going on."

John Watterson from Loomacres Wildlife explained some of the first stages in the assessment plans at the recent Riverton Regional Airport Board meeting.

"We've been selecting our bird survey sites, and the goal of the entire project is to identify what wildlife hazards are present, numbers of wildlife and what times and days of the year that they're most common," Watterson said.

"Not only will they be looking at our airport but our surrounding area too," Griffin said.

The group will conduct four surveys a month at the airport, counting the number and species of birds.

"On the airport, we select sites to provide coverage for the entire airfield, and then off of the airport, we're going to be positioning sites of major wildlife attractants that can present a hazard for planes approaching and departing the airport," Watterson said.

Loomacres also will perform mammal, insect and vegetation surveys. Per the contract, the group will provide wildlife management training to airport personnel, required by the FAA upon completion of the assessment.

At the end of the assessment, which will take one year, the group will compile the data collected and provide recommendations to help reduce hazards, Watterson said.

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