Proceedings: Streaked Horned Lark and Pacific Northwest Airports

This full-day workshop on Streaked Horned Larks and Pacific Northwest Airports took place on March 9, 2011 in Vancouver, Washington. The key object of the workshop was to explore opportunities for conserving the streaked horned lark – a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act which frequently occupies Pacific Northwest airports – without impacting aircraft safety.

The workshop drew about 50 participants from many different realms, including airport and airfield management, state and federal wildlife agencies, the US Department of Agriculture, the US Navy’s Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Program, and nonprofits.

The workshop surveyed the field of topics involved in this complex issue. The morning presentations focused on the hazard that birds present to aircraft, with presentations from representatives of both the civilian and military wildlife strike prevention programs, namely the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, and the US Navy BASH Program. The wildlife hazard prevention manager at Portland International Airport – a site currently occupied by streaked horned larks – described the airport’s wildlife hazard prevention program. Then a leading US researcher on the potential synergies between grassland bird hazard management and conservation at airfields, Dr. Kimberley Peters of the New Jersey Audubon Society, made a keynote presentation. Dr. Peters is currently studying how grassland birds react to different types of grassland management on military airfields, and shared her results to date.

The afternoon’s proceedings focused on streaked horned larks in the Pacific Northwest, covering natural history and conservation, as well as the potential impacts to airports and airfields should listing under the federal Endangered Species Act occur. The final presentations for the day focused on actual experiences at airports and airfields currently occupied by streaked horned larks, namely Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Portland International Airport, Corvallis Airport and the Olympia Airport.