Wildlife Management

Welcome to the Paine Field Airport Wildlife Hazard Management Program. Airport staff members, under the guidance of USDA Biologist, Matt Stevens, are committed to the safety of passengers, aircraft, and the many birds that live in or migrate through the region — as well as deer, coyotes, and other mammals that may present a hazard to aircraft operations.

At Paine Field, wildlife hazards are taken very seriously. For almost 2 decades, Snohomish County has contracted the services of USDA-Wildlife Services personnel to assist in mitigating potential risks involving wildlife strikes. The FAA recognizes Wildlife Services as experts in Wildlife Damage Management at airports. With the assistance of Wildlife Services Biologist Matt Stevens, Paine Field has created and implemented a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan (WHMP) which has been approved by the FAA and included in the Airport's Certification Manual. The WHMP identifies potential hazardous wildlife species and outlines solutions for maintaining a safe flying environment at Paine Field.

Although complex and multi-faceted, the Airport’s Wildlife Hazard Management Program concentrates on minimizing potential habitat attractants such as ponds and wetlands, grassy fields, and forested areas and making them undesirable roosting and feeding areas for waterfowl and gulls, the most hazardous birds.  Additionally, trained airport staff and USDA personnel use many wildlife harassment and abatement techniques to reduce wildlife hazards on a daily basis.  The grass seed used on airfield projects is specifically designed to not attract wildfowl.  The USDA traps and relocates raptors. Hawks and other predatory birds can be particularly hazardous as they tend to soar and hunt at elevations below 500 feet AGL where most documented birdstrikes occur. Red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, Cooper's hawks, and other birds of prey are live-trapped and relocated at least 35 miles from Paine Field.
Year after year, the FAA continues to encourage and support the Airport’s proactive approach to Wildlife Hazard Management.  By constantly researching and implementing new and improved Wildlife Hazard Management methods and techniques, Paine Field is at the forefront of Wildlife Hazard Management and continues to demonstrate its commitment and dedication to providing the safest flying environment possible for its pilots and operators.