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Seattle District Drone Information

The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), such as drones, are prohibited on or above federal lands and waters managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District. This prohibition applies regardless of the location of the drone operator.

Federal Aviation Administration definitions: An unmanned aircraft is a component of a UAS. It is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)).

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulations 36 CFR 327.4b states: “operation of aircraft on project lands at other than those designated by the District Commander is prohibited.” Persons found in violation of these regulations may be subject to criminal or civil penalties pursuant to 36 C.F.R 327.25.

No areas within the Seattle District’s jurisdiction, including recreation sites, dams, reservoirs and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks), have been designated for drone use.

Why are there no designated areas for drone operation within the Seattle District’s jurisdiction?

  • Safety – Drones pose a potential hazard to visitors due to malfunction or negligent operation.

  • Security – Drones could be used criminally against visitors or critical infrastructure.

  • Visitor experience – Drone noise and movements could pose a nuisance or privacy concern, and negatively impact the experience of other visitors.

Link to 36 CFR 327.4b