Seattle District Drone Information

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers administers land and waters associated with the variety of missions the Corps is responsible for. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulation Title 36, Chap. III, Part 327 identifies the regulations that apply to water resource development projects such as dams, locks, other related waterways, and their administratively-associated lands and waters. For regulation purposes, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which includes drones, are considered aircraft and their use is governed in part by Title 36, Part 327.4 (Aircraft).

According to Title 36, 36 CFR 327.4b  “… operation of aircraft on project lands at locations other than those designated by the District Commander is prohibited.” For Seattle District operating projects – Albeni Falls Dam, Chief Joseph Dam, Lake Washington Ship Canal, Libby Dam, Mud Mountain Dam and Howard A. Hanson Dam - the district commander has delegated the authority to designate areas for drone operations to the local projects.

Local project managers may designate lands as ‘open’ to all drone use, in which case no other permission is needed for recreational flights to occur. At areas that have not been designated as ‘open’ or when a flight is being conducted for any purpose other than recreational, permission is needed prior to the flight. If a flight is approved, approval is generally formalized through the use of a Special Use Permit or other written documentation, depending on the reason for the flight and the entities conducting it.

To request additional information, please contact the local projects:

Albeni Falls Dam – 208-437-3133

Chief Joseph Dam - 509-686-3547

Howard A Hanson Dam – 206-764-3717

Lake Washington Ship Canal – 206-789-2622

Libby Dam – 406-293-7751

Mud Mountain Dam – 206-764-3717