OTTUMWA — The city of Ottumwa will be holding a project kickoff groundbreaking for the Wildlife Fence Project at the Ottumwa Regional Airport Terminal Building at 4 p.m. Monday. The public is invited to attend.
The project consists of erecting protective fencing around the runway area. The new fence will enhance airport security and safety with the goal of keeping deer off the airstrip. The fencing project is part of the Ottumwa Regional Airport 2011-16 Airport Capital Improvement Program with a total project cost of $426,000.
Ninety percent of the project funding comes from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA.) The local match will be paid through the city's Airport Fund. All airport-related activities are paid for by rent collected on city-owned properties and service fees paid by businesses who own property in the Airport Industrial Park, not local property taxes.
According to FAA data, deer are one of the most hazardous wild animals to airport operations. This summer, a Vinton pilot struck a deer when a herd dashed across the runway as he landed.
With the rural setting of the Ottumwa Regional Airport and the health of the white tail deer population, reducing the risk of striking one or even a group of deer is important for aviation.