Gerald R. Ford International Airport

6:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Grand Rapids airport faces 'unprecedented' influx of snowy owls

USDA wildlife specialist Aaron Bowden shows the length of this snowy owl’s wingspan. The owl was caught at Gerald R. Ford International Airport this week. It was tagged and released 50 miles away.
Courtesy photo Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Snowy owls have been flocking to Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids this winter.

“It’s unprecedented. We have three to four times the activity than we’ve ever had in the past,” said Tara Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the Ford Airport.

Airport staff had to shoot nine owls this season. That’s compared to only four in the past four years combined.

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Environment & Science
4:54 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

State issues permit for Ford Airport’s proposed treatment system to prevent bioslime

Bioslime that forms in the winter months in a creek near the Ford Airport.
Ryan Grant MDEQ

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids will build a new treatment system to prevent a film of smelly, nuisance bioslime from building up on a nearby river. That’s after the state issued the airport a discharge permit on Friday.

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality says the smelly bioslime is not a human health hazard. It’s formed by bacteria that eat the deicing fluids used on airplanes in the winter months. The state says the airport has until 2015 to stop the bioslimes.

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The Environment Report
9:07 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Ford Airport proposes new system to prevent bacterial slime in nearby creek

This vehicle squeegees deicing fluid off the pavement during the winter months. Then it vacuums the fluid it can to be recycled.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

You can listen to today's Environment Report here or read an expanded version of the story below.

The main airport in Grand Rapids is proposing to build a new system to prevent the buildup of a bacterial film in a nearby river. The system would be the first of its kind at airports in Michigan.

In the winter, airplanes across the state are sprayed down with a fluid to prevent the buildup of snow and ice.

At Gerald R. Ford International Airport, roughly a third of that de-icing fluid makes its way into a small creek nearby. Bacteria in the creek can easily break down the fluid but they create a smelly film in the process.

The state considers the bio-slime a nuisance, not a human health risk. But it does deplete the oxygen, choking out aquatic life.

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4:26 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Southwest Airlines coming to Grand Rapids this summer

Beginning in August, Southwest Airlines will service the airport in Grand Rapids.
Gordon Werner Creative Commons

People flying out of the airport in Grand Rapids will soon have more options and cheaper flights.

On Monday Southwest Airlines, the “world’s largest low-fare air service provider,” announced flights out of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport will begin in August.

Southwest Airlines will double the current flight schedule run by AirTran Airways. Southwest acquired AirTran in 2011. It will also provide bigger airplanes, adding up to an 83 percent increase in “seat count” over AirTran’s  daily average.

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