It's possible that not all 56 acres of airport wetlands will need to be removed.
A wildlife biologist has been contacted to see what wetlands could be modified or left alone on airport grounds.
That could save the Aberdeen Regional Airport some money on the stormwater portion of the wetlands mitigation project, which could cost up to $18 million.
High costs spurred the additional consulting. Federal Aviation Administration regulations require that water be removed from retention and detention ponds within 48 hours, which drives up the cost of the project, said Airport Manager Mike Wilson. If the water were allowed to remain in the ponds for eight days, the cost of the stormwater project would be about $4.5 million.
The wetlands at the airport need to be removed as part of a safety improvement to decouple two runways and to reduce the amount of wildlife on airport grounds.
The biologist would see if some wetlands aren't as dangerous to keep around, Wilson said. Then, not as many wetlands would need to be taken away and mitigated and the cost of removal would fall as well.
It's estimated to cost about $2-4 million to remove the wetlands.
"It could save a substantial amount of money and work," he said.
Another set of eyes reviewing the project will be beneficial, Wilson said. The biologist that has been contacted is Tim Pugh.
He can determine which wetlands present a wildlife hazard and which can be left alone.
"It sounds like what should have been done earlier did not get done earlier," said Dr. Kennon Broadhurst, airport board member.
Either way, there will be fewer wetlands to replace at Willow Creek Lake. Wilson said a study found that the wetlands there are of higher quality and if the plan to remove 56 acres from the airport stands, 47 acres would need to be made at Willow Creek Lake.
In other business:
An airport certification safety inspection was completed and the airport was required to complete five tasks. Two were completed the day of the inspection, Wilson said.
The most time-consuming one will be the removal and repainting of a marking on the runway, he said. Others were related to paperwork and logkeeping.
"Overall, it went pretty well," Wilson said.
A state department of transportation project on Highway 12 affects the general aviation and passenger terminal entrances to the airport, Wilson said.
He said he has received complaints about the dropoff area in the road, which reduces visibility to oncoming traffic. He and airport maintenance manager Rich Krokel have been attending public meetings to voice their concerns.
Michael Erickson and Rolf Johnson were respectively renamed chairman and vice-chair of the Aberdeen Regional Airport Board.
A payment to JDH Construction for $61,357.27 was approved for work done on terminal renovations.
The next board meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Aug. 7.
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