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Why Spend $30,000 Dollars on Gopher Removal? Let Me Explain [MAYOR'S BLOG]

Gopher
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The Yakima Air Terminal is a primary commercial service airport which receives regularly
scheduled and unscheduled airline operations which requires the airport to uphold specific
safety regulations governed by the Federal Aviation Administration. During previous FAA
inspections it’s been noted gophers continue to burrow and create mounds of dirt adjacent to
the Runways and Taxiways. Due to this activity it poses a variety of safety concerns which
include:

- Attracting other wildlife species (Hawks) which pose a wildlife hazard to aircraft operating in and out of the airport

- Undermining tunnels below pavement surfaces which reduces pavement strength

- Producing a network of tunnels under the surface of the Runway and Taxiway Safety Areas causing uneven areas of ground

- Damaging electrical airfield lighting components to find sources of heat during winter months

-Developing mounds or piles of dirt adjacent to the Runway and Taxiway surfaces which are required to remain level or flat to accommodate any aircraft deviations from paved surface

So you wonder why it costs $30,000 dollars to exterminate gophers? I have the answers. The airport is a large amount of land, I mean we are not talking the size of my backyard. We are talking hundreds of acres of land. Land that is used to bring in passenger planes and private planes all day everyday. I’m sure you remember out in Selah the past few months when birds got into the the power grid and shutdown the entire city for half a day. It only takes one hawk to get sucked into a jet engine or propeller and cause serious problems or even a plane crash.

The reason it costs $30,000 is the amount of gophers and the size of the land you need to abate. We also need to guarantee that they get almost all of the little critters and that takes time (which is money) and supplies. Plus IF something were to happen related to this problem and God forbid someone dies, the question becomes…is it worth $30,000 to save a life? Bottom line is the FAA (which funds the airport) told us to take care of the problem and that’s what we intend to do! Sorry Gophers, but you’ve gotta go!

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