|Photo by Jenny Washburn|
The primary focus of research at the NWRC Ohio Field Station concerns animal-vehicle collisions, especially wildlife hazards to aircraft. Aircraft collisions with birds and other wildlife (wildlife strikes) pose a substantial safety and financial threat to civil and military aviation worldwide. Wildlife strikes have claimed over 220 lives and over 230 aircraft since 1988, and cause millions of dollars in damage annually in the U.S. and abroad. As one dramatic example, in 1995 a U.S. Air Force $190 million AWACS plane crashed, resulting in the death of 24 crewmembers and the destruction of the plane after the aircraft hit geese on take-off at Elmendorf Air Force Base, AL. The "forced landing" of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on 15 January 2009 after Canada geese were ingested in both engines on the Airbus 320 demonstrated to the public at large that bird strikes are a grave concern to aviation safety.
The NWRC Ohio Field Station, established in 1968, is located 4 miles south of Sandusky, OH, and Lake Erie at Plum Brook Station, a 6,000-acre, fenced facility in Erie County operated by Glenn Research Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The restricted-access facility contains native grassland, reverted farmland, marsh, and woodland adjacent to intensively farmed land and urban settings outside the fence. Abundant wildlife populations can be found on the facility; for example, the deer population inside the fence can exceed 2,000 individuals. Field station facilities include indoor and outdoor aviaries, several permanent bird-traps, drying and processing rooms for field samples, shop space, a video laboratory for behavioral experiments, a 5-acre fenced pond for waterfowl research, and conference rooms.
Further information about the research conducted at the Sandusky, OH field station can be found on the research project page (Understanding, Preventing, and Mitigating the Negative Effects of Wildlife Collisions with Aircraft, Other Vehicles, and Structures).
National Wildlife Research Center
Ohio Field Station
6100 Columbus Avenue
Sandusky, Ohio 44870
(419) 625-8465 fax
Field Station Research Staff:
Travis DeVault, Research Wildlife Biologist, Field Station Project Leader
Bradley Blackwell, Research Wildlife Biologist
Brian Washburn, Research Biologist
Thomas Seamans, Wildlife Biologist
Morgan Pfeiffer, Wildlife Biologist