How to Set the Standards for Airport Wildlife Management Decisions

7 Steps to Airport Wildlife Risk Management

This is part 5 of a 7 part series exploring the use of the ISO31000 risk management framework in airport wildlife risk management; part 1 was on frameworks and consultation, part 2 discussed context, part 3 outlined risk identification strategies and part 4 looked at risk analysis techniques.

The last article helped you add some data to your list of bird and animal species. Using a risk model, you will have scores or categories (probably with lots of colour) assigned to each of the species.

Now, we can add some meaning to that list.

Often, a risk assessment ends before we get to this step. I've seen a couple of instances where the results of the analysis are ranked with work beginning at the top and working its way down until the resources run out.

But what if the next species down also requires action? And how can you ever make the argument for more resources if your process only ever considers your existing resources?

In Need of Some Criteria

The secret to this step is to think about it before you start - way back when you are developing your wildlife risk management framework.

ISO31000 notes that the risk evaluation step "assists in the decision about risk treatment" and involves the comparison of your risk analysis results with risk criteria.

So, once you know what risk model or analysis technique you will be using, you will know what the format of the results you will get - scores, categories, levels, etc. Now all you need are some risk criteria.

These will be your guide as to what will be expected for each species in each of your result groups. There is no rocket science involved. Just look at it hypothetically - "if a species falls into this category, what will I expect myself to do?"

At my airport, I started at the top and asked that very question for each risk category. For "extreme" species, I require a specific risk treatment strategy to target this bird or animal, special reporting requirements must be developed and that I have a target for a reduction in that species’ numbers over the next reporting period.

For the "very high" species, my general strategies must explicitly target those species with a reduction in their numbers also required. From there, the "musts" turn into "shoulds" and then into "mays".

table whm

By setting these criteria up front, you remove the angst of making a decision. You also objectify the risk assessment process by setting the risk treatment standard in isolation of the assessment process. This ensures that you are taking a realistic look at your potential problem.

Not All Plain Sailing

I will admit that this approach has the ability to tie your hands. Especially, if you've got a big problem. But that's the point.

The idea of risk management is to be as objective as possible. To answer the questions of “Am I doing enough?”, “Should I do more?”, “Do I need more resources?”/

If you make these tough decisions up front, they will free you and your staff from questioning or second guessing the risk assessment on the fly and the results you get will be robust, solid and defendable.

Coming up in part 6, we will be looking at how to approach the risk treatment step. There are a lot of options for animal and bird control but selecting the right mix can be difficult. In the meantime, you can put forward your point of view in the comments section below. We welcome feedback from other practitioners, whether expert or novice.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog, however, as it is relevant to the series and of great value to our readers, the post has been updated and republished as part 5 of this series.

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