Audit Reports

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FAA Has Not Effectively Implemented its Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program

Project ID: 

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.




Closed on 08.01.2016
No. 1 to FAA

Require that airports, as part of their wildlife hazard management plans, maintain reports of all wildlife strikes and submit the reports quarterly to FAA for review.

Closed on 08.01.2016
No. 2 to FAA

Establish notification procedures with other government agencies to notify FAA of project proposals that may increase hazardous wildlife populations within a 5-mile radius of airports.

Closed on 08.01.2016
No. 3 to FAA

As regional airport inspector vacancies become available, staff those positions with inspectors with expertise in wildlife damage management and require those inspectors oversee the program to specifically: a. Review and approve wildlife hazard assessments and management plans; b. Track the review and approval process to ensure airports complete all requirements; and c. Monitor wildlife strikes and, if needed, require airports to reassess their wildlife hazard management plans.

Closed on 08.01.2016
No. 4 to FAA

Develop and implement performance metrics to measure the effectiveness of FAA's target activities in achieving the Program goal of reducing wildlife hazards at or near airports.