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Wildlife Biologist keeps Aircrew, animals safe
Corey Sims, U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist, fires a 12-gauge pyrotechnics pistol, used for nonlethal bird removal on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 12, 2014. Sims oversees the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard program at Barksdale and helps implement wildlife damage management to reduce the number of wildlife strikes with aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland)
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Wildlife Biologist keeps Aircrew, animals safe

Posted 6/13/2014   Updated 6/13/2014 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Jason McCasland
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

6/13/2014 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- With more than 22,000 acres of land, Barksdale provides a habitat for wildlife which can pose a threat to both Airmen and aircraft

To combat this, Air Force Global Strike Command requested a qualified U.S. Department of Agriculture Biologist to conduct an operational wildlife damage management program to address human health and safety concerns related to aircraft encounters with birds and other wildlife.

"The type of aircraft flown, the number of paved surfaces, airfield topography and vegetation types are just a few of the factors that make each airport environment unique for wildlife biologists implementing wildlife management in these environments," said Corey Sims, USDA wildlife biologist.

Sims works closely with Airfield Management and both the 2nd and 307th Bomb Wing Flight Safety offices. He oversees the Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard program at Barksdale and helps implement wildlife damage management to reduce the number of wildlife strikes with aircraft.

"Prior to my arriving [here], Flight Safety would handle wildlife issues as they arose; however, their time allotted to manage wildlife was limited," said Sims. "My degree and experience allows me to anticipate and respond to wildlife hazards that others might not understand completely. Plus, I can pay full-time attention to BASH concerns and have an assortment of other USDA biologists, certified for airport work, to consult on issues I encounter."

Having a wildlife biology specialist also allows Barksdale Airmen to focus on their mission.

"Air Force bases have biologists on staff to reduce the risk of an aircraft strike with wildlife," said Sims. "USDA Wildlife Services is recognized as the best federal agency to conduct wildlife hazard management at military installations, as well as civilian airports."

Ensuring the safety of both wildlife and Airmen doesn't go without challenges.

"The most challenging aspect for Barksdale is the lack of proper water drainage each time it rains," said Sims. "Excess standing water on an airfield for more than 48 hours creates a major wildlife attractant for a diversity of species. Excess water not only attracts wildlife species, but also limits vehicle access for much of the airfield. With limited access, I am unable to address each wildlife issue that may arise during this time, leaving an unattended, potential risk of a wildlife strike."

However, helping wildlife and Barksdale coexist with each other gives Sims unique rewards.

"I have been given the opportunity to help our nation's military accomplish their mission safely by reducing potential wildlife issues," said Sims. "Working on a military installation provides me the opportunity to teach others about wildlife behavior and biology and to provide advice for wildlife issues individuals may encounter on their personal property."

For additional questions or comments pertaining to wildlife, contact the Biologist at 456-5632.

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