Department of Transportation
Dakota-Minnesota Airports District
FINDING OF NO
For Crosswind Runway Construction
at Wadena Municipal
Wadena, Otter Tail County, Minnesota
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prepared this Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for a project analyzing Crosswind Runway construction at Wadena Municipal Airport (ADC).
In accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures, FAA Order 5050.4B, NEPA Implementing Instructions for Airport Actions, and based on the evaluation in the Final Environmental Assessment (FEA) dated June 26, 2019, there are no significant impacts associated with the proposed project. Therefore, a Federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will not be prepared and a FONSI is being issued.
This FONSI provides a review of the Proposed Action, mitigation requirements, and the basis for the FAA’s finding. Specific details are defined further in the FEA.
I. Purpose and Need
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to provide adequate wind coverage for the critical design aircraft utilizing ADC. The existing single runway system 16/34 at ADC does not meet the FAA recommendation of 95% wind coverage for A-I aircraft users (Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5300-13A, Airport Design). For A-I aircraft, the crosswind component of 10.5 knots provides wind coverage 94.19% of the time during visual weather conditions (VFR) and 92.73% of the time when weather conditions would require instrument flight rules to applied (IFR), both of which are below the recommended 95 percent wind coverage.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Aeronautics supports the need for the crosswind runway at ADC. The 2012 Minnesota State Aviation System Plan (SASP) identifies a gap in paved crosswind runways in the Wadena area. While the proposed crosswind runway will be a turf runway, it will provide additional crosswind coverage in west central Minnesota.
Through the SASP, MnDOT identified three critical airport facilities that would assist in measuring access to the air transportation system throughout the state. One of the critical facilities is crosswind runway locations. The 2012 SASP included a tool for measuring density analysis of providing a paved crosswind runway within 30 nautical miles (approximately 60 minutes of drive time) of any airport. The relevance of 30 nautical miles is due to the amount of fuel reserve on smaller aircraft, which are more likely to use a crosswind runway. Approximately 68% of Minnesota airports are within 30 nautical miles of a paved crosswind runway. At the time of the SASP, ADC was located in an area of the state, which did not have a paved crosswind runway within 30 nautical miles of the airport. Since that time, the Park Rapids Municipal Airport (PKD) has paved the crosswind runway. PKD is 28 nautical miles north of ADC. While this is within 30 nautical miles of ADC, there are no other crosswind runways within that distance of ADC.
There are no other runways within the 60-minute drive time of ADC with an orientation of 3/21. The Alexandria Municipal Airport has a paved crosswind runway with a 4/22 orientation. The remaining runways within the 60-minute drive time align closer to the runway orientation of the primary paved runway, Runway 16/34, at ADC.
There is one business located at the airport. Having a business at the airport creates community awareness of the airport and brings additional revenue to the area. The business uses ADC for flight training operations. The flight school trains approximately five to six students per year. Student pilots start training in single-engine aircraft, which are often rated to land in lessor crosswinds than 10.5 knots. Additionally, aircraft react differently when landing on a turf surface than when landing on pavement. Having a turf crosswind runway at ADC allows flight instructors to give students experience with various runway types and situations that could be encountered once becoming a certified pilot.
In addition, the Wadena Pilots Association is located at ADC. There are 18 members within the pilots association, which operate single-engine aircraft. The pilots association has been at the airport since the early 1960s. The majority of pilots within the association own a single-engine aircraft and base at ADC. The remaining pilots within the association rent aircraft to use at ADC. The majority of members within this group would benefit from a turf crosswind runway at ADC.
The need for the Proposed Action is to increase the safety at the airport during crosswind situations for slower, single-engine aircraft and to provide a crosswind runway in an area of the state which currently does not meet the access to air transportation recommendations by MnDOT. A project objective is to keep the crosswind runway on existing airport property.
II. Alternatives Considered
In accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, the EA identified and evaluated all reasonable alternatives. The Final EA provides analysis on all the alternatives analyzed.
The No Action Alternative assumes the Proposed Action would not be implemented. The No Action Alternative assumes no airside or landside improvements would be constructed. However, use of the existing airport would continue and airport activity would continue to grow until meeting the capacity of the existing airport facilities. The No Action Alternative includes routine maintenance and reconstruction of existing facilities in their existing positions.
The No Action Alternative would not provide the users of the airport with a crosswind runway to more safely accommodate aircraft operations when crosswind conditions occur. If the crosswind runway was not constructed, aircraft would still be able to operate at ADC until the capacity was met. However, insufficient crosswind coverage would be provided in some crosswind situations for student pilots and recreational users. Pilots would need to either reschedule, cancel flights, or go to another airport due to crosswind components.
This alternative does not meet the purpose and need of the proposed project. However, in accordance with NEPA requirements, the “No Action” Alternative is maintained throughout the EA to serve as a baseline for comparison to the Proposed Action.
While the Proposed Action with a runway orientation of 3/21 would provide the airport with a combined wind coverage of 96.26%, it is not the alignment that would provide the maximum amount of wind coverage for ADC. Therefore, crosswind runway alternatives were considered that maximize the combined wind coverage for A-I aircraft.
An additional wind analysis was completed to determine the best orientation for a crosswind runway at ADC using wind data from ADC’s AWOS. A runway orientation of 10/28 provides the highest percent of wind coverage at ADC at 99.17%. The alternatives attempt to align the crosswind runway as close as possible to an orientation of 10/28 in order to achieve maximum wind coverage within the existing airport site.
Alternative 1 places the crosswind runway in a 10/28 orientation, and situates it as far south was possible to keep the majority of the runway and Runway 28’s Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) and MnDOT Clear Zone within airport property while also remaining clear of the delineated wetlands. However, on the west side, Runway 10’s RPZ, Clear Zone, and BRL will require approximately 11.9 acres of land acquisition including one residence within the RPZ. Additionally, Alternative 1 would limit future hangar developed in the area, and would require the relocation of the existing fence in the highlighted area on the east side of the airfield.
This alternative would also require the rezoning of the airport. The existing Airport Zoning Ordinance protects for the proposed crosswind runway alignment. Realigning the crosswind runway to the alignment depicted in this alternative would require the airport to rezone pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 360. Alternative 1 does meet the Purpose and Need, but it requires acquisition of 11.9 acres of land and one residence and was therefore dismissed.
Other alternative locations of a runway at a similar orientation were considered but dismissed as they would result in additional property acquisition, impacts to the alignment/location of County Road 77, tree clearing in Blacks Grove Park (east of the airport) or wetland impacts. These alternatives were removed from further consideration.
III. Proposed Action
A new crosswind runway is proposed to be constructed on an orientation of 3/21. The proposed crosswind runway orientation of 3/21 would provide the airport with a combined wind coverage of 96.26%, which would exceed the recommended 95% wind coverage (see FAA AC 150/5300-13A).
The runway would be 2,100 feet in length and 75 feet wide. The crosswind runway would be designed to A-I standards since the runway would be turf and provide wind coverage for smaller aircraft. The profile and grading standards within the Runway Safety Area of both runways was reviewed based on the location of the proposed turf crosswind runway. The proposed location meets FAA Runway Safety Area design and grading standards.
A turf taxiway would be constructed from Taxiway A to the future Runway 21 end. Guidance signage would be installed along Taxiway A to indicate the taxiway intersects the Runway 21 approach and additional directional guidance signage would be installed at Taxiway A and the proposed turf taxiway. Required pavement markings including two hold lines would be added to Taxiway A.
No property acquisition would be required to construct the runway on this proposed alignment. No wetland impacts would result or tree clearing would be required. All 14 CFR Part 77 imaginary surfaces would be clear and no obstruction removal would be necessary.
The proposed location of the crosswind runway would allow future expansion of the building area. The crosswind runway is located as far west as possible to avoid conflicts with the City Park located east of the airport. Both RPZs, which are required to be controlled through ownership, would be located within existing airport property. The City will request circling approaches not be available to this runway. The proposed turf runway is not designed to accommodate this type of traffic or approach procedure at the airport.
The Proposed Action meets the purpose and need of the proposed project.
IV. Environmental Consequences and Mitigation
After careful analysis and consultation with various state and federal resource agencies, the Airport selected the proposed action as the preferred alternative. This alternative satisfies the purpose and need for the project while causing minimal environmental impacts. The Final EA discusses the environmental consequences of the Proposed Action. Mitigation commitments are discussed below.
The Airport shall implement the following mitigation measures as a condition of environmental approval of the proposed development listed in this FONSI to support existing and proposed aeronautical activities at the Airport:
• The Airport will obtain any necessary permits prior to beginning construction.
• The Airport will protect wetlands and waters of the U.S. not directly impacted by the Proposed Action during construction.
• In the event that human remains or cultural resources are discovered during construction, all work will cease until ADC notifies the SHPO and the FAA Dakota Minnesota Airports District Office. ADC shall protect the area with carefully placed tarps or construction back fill until cultural resource concerns have been appropriately addressed, and ADC will take action to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the Archeological Resources Protection Act, as appropriate.
• During construction, in the event that previously unknown contaminants are discovered or if a reportable spill occurs, work shall cease until the Airport notifies appropriate local, state, and Federal agencies.
• If endangered species are sighted during construction, work shall cease in the immediate area of the endangered species and all sightings shall be reported to the USFWS, MNDNR and the FAA.
V. Public Review and Comment
Public involvement is a vital component of the NEPA process. The Draft EA/EAW was released for agency and public review from May 2, 2019-June 3, 2019. Agency and public comments received during the comment period were considered in the development of the FEA. Responses to all verbal and written comments are provided in the FEA.
I have carefully and thoroughly considered the facts contained in the attached EA. Based on that information, I find the proposed Federal action is consistent with existing national environmental policies and objectives of Section 101(a) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and other applicable environmental requirements. I also find the proposed Federal action will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment or include any condition requiring any consultation pursuant to section 1 02(2)(C) of NEPA. As a result, the FAA will not prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this action.
Having met all relevant requirements for environmental considerations and consultation, the proposed action is authorized to be taken when other requirements have been met. These decisions are taken pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 40101, et seq. The FAA findings regarding the proposed airport improvements, and any necessary funding for the Wadena Municipal Airport, constitute an order of the Administrator, which is subject to review by the Courts of Appeals of the United States, in accordance with the provisions of Section 1006 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, as amended, 49 U.S.C. § 46110.
Lindsay Butler, eputy ADO Manager
Federal Aviatio Administration
DISAPPROVED: Dakota-Minnesota Airports District Office
DATE: July 25, 2019
8/1, 8/8, 8/15, 8/22