AP NEWS

Officials mull goose deterrents at Bentonville airport

March 4, 2019

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Officials are mulling how to deter geese from flocking to Bentonville Municipal Airport every spring.

Bird Strike Committee USA, a volunteer group promoting awareness of the issue, said wildlife strikes on U.S. civil and military aircraft cost an estimated $900 million annually.

Council members and airport officials last Tuesday discussed using noise and lasers to scare the birds, or killing the birds if those methods don’t succeed, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Bentonville has requested a permit from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to kill the geese. The move led to local residents contacting the Airport Advisory Board to voice their opposition.

Richard Ham, airport board chairman, addressed a concerned resident’s email who suggested partnering with other bird rescue organizations to help develop a nonlethal solution.

“This will not be a single-solution issue,” Ham said in his email response. “The challenge is always managing several competing interests -- protection of human life primarily, wildlife management and blending aesthetic community landscapes.”

Martin Smith of Ecological Design Group, the civil engineer and ecological restoration company working on the 74-acre (30-hectare) Osage Park north of the airport’s runway, informed airport board members in December about the possibility of creating a 10- to 12-foot (3- to 3.6-meter) border of vegetation around the edge of a lake near the park to discourage geese from gathering there.

Amanda Good, the Arkansas director for the Humane Society of the United States, said in an email to the city council that killing geese won’t prevent other birds from flying to the airport in coming years.

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Information from: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.nwaonline.com