Bird-strike concerns: Oregon airport seeks to fill ponds

Bird-strike concerns: Oregon airport seeks to fill ponds

Nov 23, 2014 News by Gary Searing

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Eugene Airport officials say they want to fill ponds near the main runway to reduce the risk of birds striking airplanes.

The ponds near the airport attract numerous kinds of birds and have been a worry for years. Now, the airport is seeking permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Lands to fill two ponds that are 700 feet from the airport's runway.

Spokeswoman Cathryn Stephens says the airport has averaged five bird strikes annually in the past two decades. This year, there have been six bird strikes, none of them causing serious damage to a plane. Stephens says the last bird strike to cause significant damage was in Sept. of 2007 when a Skywest flight on its approach struck a duck, causing damage to an engine.

The airport already uses shotgun firings and dummy coyotes to keep the birds away from the ponds. The ponds are former gravel pits from the 1940. If the ponds are removed, others would be build to replace them. Airport officials estimate the cost at $800,000.