Reclamation issues reminder: Unauthorized drones not allowed over Folsom and Shasta dams

By on March 4, 2018

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region has issued a reminder that unauthorized drone operations are restricted around California’s Folsom and Shasta dams. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced an expanded list of restricted drone operations sites last September which included the two California dams.

The FAA’s order was put in place at the request of US security and law enforcement agencies and included no-fly zones within 400 feet of some army bases, major sports stadiums, national parks, major airports as well as the two California dams. The order also prohibits public drone or any unmanned aerial system flight within 1,000 feet of both sides of the dams. The new restrictions became effective on October 5.

Currently, the Department of the Interior and the FAA have also approved no-fly zones over three other Reclamation dams: Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona, Grand Coulee Dam in Washington and Hoover Dam, in Nevada and bordering Arizona. The FAA has produced an online interactive map to inform the public of the restricted locations for drones at: https://uas-faa.opendata.arcgis.com/. The FAA also maintains a link to the same information in FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app.

Reclamation already prohibits operating model aircraft from its lands except in designated areas established by an authorized official. Those who are in violation of the airspace may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges. Last August the Pentagon approved a measure that would let the U.S. military shoot down drones in no-fly areas it considered a threat.