Commercial Filming & Photography

The following statements and fee schedules are for use by the Pacific Northwest Region, Bureau of Reclamation. The information below is under the authority of Act of Congress approved June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 388), Section 10 of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (53 Stat. 1187); Public Law 106-206; 43 CFR 429.

Right-of-Use Application

A permit is required for commercial photography on Bureau of Reclamation-managed land or facilities. Commercial photography, whether performed by non-profit organizations or private industry, includes but is not limited to motion picture filming, video taping, and sound recording, or still photography.

A permit is required if such activity is requested to take place at locations where or when members of the public are generally not allowed, involves product or service advertisement, the use of models, sets, or props, or when the use requires management to prevent impairment or derogation to the resources or a significant disruption of normal visitor or agency use.

How to Apply

Step 1: Fill out the Right-of-Use Application.

Step 2: Send it, along with the $100 application fee, to:

Public Affairs Officer
Bureau of Reclamation
1150 North Curtis Road
Boise, Idaho 83706-1234

Step 3: You may be asked for more information specific to your request. This will allow the Public Affairs Office consider your request and the waiver of fees in 43 CFR 429. To ensure script content does not misrepresent Reclamation or show federal employees inappropriately, the script (or script concept) must be reviewed and approved by the Regional Public Affairs Officer.

Step 4: Reclamation staff will prepare a Special Use Permit, which you will be required to sign.

Step 5: Pay the fees.

In most instances, a permit issued for filming and photography will require the permittee to remit all costs involved with issuing the permit and managing the activity as well as a location fee for use of the land or facility. There are many federal requirements with which Reclamation must comply, including facility security and safety. The length of time for processing an application varies; it can range from a few days to a much longer time period.

There is a $100 application fee. In addition, a location fee will be charged, based on factors listed below. When the permit is issued, the permittee will be required to cover administrative costs relating to Reclamation personnel, if needed for access, security, or other administrative reasons.Certain security concerns related to the dam, hydropower plant, or federal property may be cause for denial of the film permit. A reduced location fee may be assessed at the discretion of the authorizing official, if the activity provides educational or public benefit or is part of on-going news and or/editorial coverage. Additional fees may be charged by non-Reclamation staff, such as park managers, irrigation district staff, contractors, etc. and be billed separately.The location fee will be based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • the number of days the filming or related activity takes place on Federal land; size of the film crew present on Federal land; the quantity and type of equipment; the locations used during the filming; and
  • comparable fees charged for similar uses of surrounding lands and facilities (see below).

When a filming permit is required, a location fee is charged for each separate location, parking, and staging area. All activities related to permitted filming and photography are subject to a location fee. This includes, but is not limited to: preparation of site, filming, parking, and cleanup at Reclamation facilities. It usually also will include the cost of a local Reclamation employee to be onsite during the filming. The fee schedule includes consideration of the need for parking and staging areas to accommodate vehicle and equipment needs. The interim fees are established as the minimum location fees to be charged and may be revised when final rules and regulations are promulgated.

Location Fees for Commercial Filming

Number of People Fee
1-5 people with hand-carried equipment $150 day
1-5 people with other than hand-carried equipment $200 day
6-10 people $300 day/location
11-20 people $500 day/location
21-40 people $800 day/location
41-60 people $1,200 day/location
More than 60 people $25/person per day/location $1,200 day/location

Location Fees for Commercial Still Photography

Number of People Fee
1-5 people with hand-carried equipment $150/day
1-5 people with other than hand-carried equipment $200/day
6-10 people $300/day/location
11-20 people $400/day/location
More than 21 people $20/person/day/location

Note: Use of any part of a day is charged as one full day. One full day is defined as a continuous 24 hour period. The clock starts at the beginning of activity or with the scheduled arrival of the first vehicle.

Script Content
To ensure script content does not misrepresent Reclamation or show federal employees inappropriately, the script (or script concept) must be reviewed and approved by the Regional Public Affairs Officer.

For More Information

Public Affairs Officer
(208) 378-6203

Pacific Northwest Region
Bureau of Reclamation
1150 Curtis Road, Suite 100
Boise, Idaho 83706-1234

Related Links

Bureau of Land Management
US Forest Service

Last Updated: 8/27/19