Barnstable Airport Officials Update Progress on Tree Removal Project

HYANNIS – Barnstable Municipal Airport has completed the process of clearing trees impacting the approach surfaces of two runways to meet Federal Aviation Administration regulations as well as airport safety and certification requirements.

The project is transitioning to a focus on the post-clearing landscaping plan.

The effort supports the existing runway approaches and maintains necessary safety conditions.

Tree removal began on May 27 and was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Airport officials said that initial landscaping plan seeding that occurred following the tree clearing has struggled to become established due to the drought conditions that have persisted on Cape Cod.

Airport maintenance staff have started working in the previously cleared areas to prepare for an additional round of seeding.

No additional mature trees are being cleared during the project phase.

Airport staff will complete trash/debris removal and a rough cut of regrowth and sapling growth that has followed the initial tree removal.

Additional work will include the leveling of man-made mounds along the airport fence line.

Officials said that work in the previously cleared areas will facilitate an additional round of seeding by the contractor to further establish the planned landscape.

The reseeding of the airport properties and roadway median in the area of Independence Drive and Kidd’s Hill Road is planned to occur during October to allow for germination prior to the winter season.

Any plantings that have not survived since installation due to the drought conditions will also be replaced.

“Safety is always our top priority at the airport, and managing vegetation is an important part of that priority,” said Airport Manager Katie Servis.

“As trees and other vegetation grow taller, they create safety hazards for pilots and can limit visibility between the aircraft the runway environment and the control tower. The FAA requires that certain areas of trees and shrubs surrounding airports must be cut. Post tree clearing includes a landscaping plan with native plants and shrubs to replace taller growth that must be removed”

FAA regulations and standards require that airspace Protection Zones (PZs) must be achieved and maintained in order to assure an appropriate level of safety at every airport.

PZs are elements of aviation and public safety because they ensure unobstructed flight paths and views for pilots, air traffic controllers, and ground crew, enabling safe takeoffs, landings, and ground movements. 

Trees that were cleared included a total of approximately seven acres around Runway 24 (along Willow Street in Yarmouth) and Runway 15 (along Independence Drive in Barnstable).

Most trees were within airport-owned property or property in which the airport has existing easements that allow for tree cutting and maintenance of vegetative growth.

The project now transitions in a phase of ensuring the establishment of the post-clearing landscaping plan that includes replanting with native grassland species and/or low growing shrubs.

About Justin Saunders

Justin Saunders has nearly 10 years of experience in radio, television, online and newspaper journalism across the US and Canada. Justin joined the NewsCenter in May 2014 and continues to help provide coverage of the Cape and Islands.
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