Aviation Management

The aviation management program facilitates policy, direction, and technical support to enhance the safe and efficient use of aviation resources in support of Reclamation’s diverse mission. Guided by the directives found in Reclamation’s National Aviation Management Plan, aviation operations include manned (e.g., rotary and fixed wing aircraft) and unmanned (e.g., Unmanned Aircraft Systems) flights. Reclamation prioritizes safety to ensure that staff, interagency partners, and the public benefit from aviation operations without harm.


Public Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Reclamation Facilities

Depending upon local restrictions, the public and non-federal entities may be able to fly Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS, also known as “drones”) on and/or over Reclamation lands and facilities. UAS operators should always check NOTAMs and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS Information prior to conducting any flight operations to ensure awareness of local restrictions. Dams, their associated features (e.g., powerlines, instrumentation), and the wind patterns affected by such structures, pose hazards to flight operations and people in the vicinity. Reclamation, through a Temporary Flight Restriction with the FAA, restricts UAS operations (surface to 400 feet above ground level) in the immediate vicinity of 5 National Critical Infrastructure dams in particular:

  • Folsom
  • Glen Canyon
  • Grand Coulee
  • Hoover
  • Shasta
  • UAS operators must always inquire with local management officials to confirm local restrictions at all other Reclamation facilities. Operations that endanger people and property are never allowed, including flying near powerplants, switchyards, or people.

    Additional restrictions and regulations concerning aircraft operations at Reclamation facilities/property may be found at 43 CFR Part 423 (Public Conduct on Bureau of Reclamation Facilities, Lands, and Waterbodies). Further use information is available at: https://www.usbr.gov/lands/.


    Questions about Reclamation’s aviation management program may be directed to:
    National Aviation Manager: David Rosser (aviation@usbr.gov)



    Last Updated: 10/29/20