Audit Reports

August 22, 2012

FAA Has Not Effectively Implemented its Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program

Project ID: AV-2012-170


On August 22, 2012, we issued a report on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program, which aims to reduce the risk of wildlife strikes to aviation. Under the Program, FAA requires airports to create and implement wildlife hazard management plans to assess and minimize the risk of future strikes. However, we found that FAA’s oversight and enforcement activities are not sufficient to ensure airports fully adhere to Program requirements or effectively implement their wildlife hazard plans. In addition, FAA’s policies and guidance for monitoring, reporting, and mitigating wildlife hazards are mostly voluntary, thereby limiting their effectiveness. For example, FAA recommends but does not mandate that airports and aircraft operators report all wildlife strikes to FAA’s strike database. As a result, FAA’s strike data are incomplete, which impacts the Agency’s ability to evaluate the effectiveness of its Program in reducing wildlife hazards. Finally, FAA coordinates effectively with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, its main partner in wildlife hazard mitigation, but its efforts to coordinate with other relevant Government agencies are limited and infrequent. We made 10 recommendations intended to improve FAA’s management and oversight of the Program. FAA concurred with six, partially concurred with three, and did not concur with one. We are requesting additional information or revised responses for five recommendations—particularly related to improving the quality and quantity of the Agency’s wildlife strike data.