City Government

“Scorched Earth” Policy Could Raise BOI Dust Cloud

A pilot contacted the GUARDIAN today, claiming last night’s dust storm at the airport was probably caused by recent removal of grass and vegetation along the runways.

Seems that in an effort to eliminate gophers, ground squirrels and the birds that prey upon the little critters officials at BOI scraped the area along the runways and for
1,000 at the ends.

Here is the official statement:

“To be FAA compliant for Runway Safety Area standards as well as an effort to mitigate wildlife issues BOI removed the grass vegetation in the Runway 10L/28R safety area (250′ either side of runway centerline and 1000′ from runway end).”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I drove by the airport last night and the dust cloud was 100 feet high and 300 yards long.

  2. Grumpy ole Guy
    Aug 12, 2015, 5:21 pm

    Is there a scientific/fact-based way of determining cause and effect? How wide spread was the dust cloud? It does make one wonder just how many factors were involved in the decision making process.

    EDITOR NOTE–Me thinks it’s a matter of trying to fool Mother Nature. Perhaps with cover of waste oil (no doubt with environmental issues)
    to keep down the dust, no problem. There will probably be some “meetings” to discuss a solution.

  3. Captain Chaos
    Aug 13, 2015, 12:31 am

    Word at the airport is that they used a special chemical coating over the dirt and herbicides to keep the wind from blowing the barren dirt away. Yesterday the winds in excess of 40 knots ripped the coating up and da da…Boise Bagdad style.

    Since airport management used the safety card, can we ask…what about reduced visibility for the pilots from blowing dust? What about ingestion of dirt into those critical jet engines? What about passengers, employees, and neighbors to the airport breathing unknown chemicals, herbicides, and dirt?

    24 hours after the storm, aircraft movements and streets sweepers are still kicking up huges plumes. Employees are still shoveling drifts that found their way into and around the terminal. Some employees are wearing dust masks but most are not. Just what are they, the neighbors, and the passengers breathing? Has OSHA or the EPA been called? In the interest of SAFETY should they?

    Why does every other airport in the west including Seattle, Portland, and LAX have grass between the runways? Is the Boise airport on the new choking edge of airport safety? Maybe pilots in the future will see the airport of the future by looking for the giant dust cloud?

    Finally, what vendor and/or big out of state engineering firm sold these Bagdad brainiacs this bill of goods? Fat chance we will hear six little words from our elected and/or appointed public servants…

    We blew it. Let’s plant grass.

  4. John Spurlock
    Aug 13, 2015, 9:38 am

    The airport has been closed multiple times since the grass was removed due to poor visibility from blowing dust. The dust comes from the barren ground around the runways, not from any external source. Boise Airport management caused this problem. Another expensive effect is the early removal of jet engines from the National Guard aircraft as well as civilian aircraft.

  5. Captain, maybe you missed the point of the making the area barren…. to get rid of the burrowing vermin.
    Grass does not do that.

    Guardian, oil? Really? Maybe peanut oil. ha!

    A simple Google search of airport dust control shows lots of option.

    1 or 2 times per year it doesn’t work and creates a dust storm? Big deal. We think nothing of closing the airport in the winter for a snow storm.

    A brainstorm idea– what about all that glass stockpiled from “recycling”. Mixed with gravel… or glass of a size big enough to be stable and not be reflective…sprayed with a dull polymer. Glass!

  6. Obviously the airport needs to float a new bond and pave all areas which are not currently paved… just in case the airline and military traffic were to return to the peak levels (peak was more than ten years ago).

    100% pavement will control birds; note the lack of birds over the unused/never used reliever parking area.

    Bonus; more pavement will cause temperatures to soar at the airport weather station… causing global warming to look real.

    Question? Why is the airport budget and payroll bigger now than ten years ago?

  7. Not sure if they still do, but as recently as 5 years ago they would patrol the perimeter with a .410 to control burrowing animals. Very little dust that way.

  8. Maybe they could move the landfill to the airport. Just pile garbage all around the runways? Call it urban mulch.
    How about a nuclear waste dump around the runways, then nothing would live there for thousands of years. That would save on maintenance costs!
    Maybe the EPA could dump toxic mine tailings there instead of pouring them into rivers where it is just wasted? The birds of prey might not recognize 3 headed, mutant gophers as a food source.

  9. If it was truly a safety issue you would think the airport authority would remove the vegetation from both runways. Not just the one.

  10. So I was out at the airport today and I would strongly suggest that the City of Boise create a new welcome to Boise theme. It should be “Welcome to Boise – the city of gravel pits and dust!”

    This would be very appropriate because as our highly valued tourist fly into Boise the very first thing they see out their windows are the magnificent Boise gravel pits! Then as they land the wonderfully billowing dust cloud that is created from the thrust reversers gives them an idea of the wonderful air quality of our good valley.

    EVERY airliner that took off today create not one but TWO wonderful dust clouds! How efficient! One cloud was creates as the plane ran up its engines at the end of the runway The second cloud was created as the wing vortices were created about halfway down the runway.

    Another items we will need to change is that all airport ramp workers now need gas masks. Wonderful site as our visitor deplane.

    Oh yes and The Air National Guard will need to move to another town or build 10 more hangers to keep the dust our of the engines of the planes….bye bye F-35’s!.

    And alas the last taste of Boise each visitor will get is the layer of dust on their suitcase! Dust they now have to clean off as they head downtown.

    Hotels will need to now install luggage cleaners – or maybe the cab drivers can do that ad charge even a more outrageous price than they do. How do you say “clean the dust” 10 languages?Thanks Team Dave!

    EDITOR NOTE–Sounds like you got some of that abrasive grit in your dentures! 🙂

  11. John Spurlock
    Sep 1, 2015, 1:16 pm

    Today 9-1-15 mowers are again denuding the ground by chopping off any scrub returning to the inner fields and raising clouds of dust. To those who question how bad this is-workers on the ramps are being issued breathing apparatus so they can continue to work in the dust storms. To those who question how serious this is-I’ll talk to you after an engine failure for ingested dirt and subsequent engine failure. As to the number of bird strikes at Boise airport proper- none in my experience as an aircraft mechanic in Boise. The worst bird strikes that I have seen occurred away from the airport.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: