Legislation Aims to Regulate Drones in California’s Wildlife Areas

Audubon California, a field program of the National Audubon Society, is co-sponsoring legislation – authored by Chris Holden, assembly majority floor leader – that would require the state to create rules for drone use in wildlife areas.

The bill, A.B.2148, would give the California National Resources Agency the ability to develop regulations regarding drone use on about 1 million acres of publically managed lands.

By requiring the development of a unified regulatory system, says Audobon California, the legislation aims to create a cohesive, statewide system of rules governing the use of drones on these lands.

“One of the biggest threats to birds is human disturbance of nesting, feeding and roosting sites, and drones only extend our reach even further into the natural environment,” states Brigid McCormack, executive director of Audubon California. “We’re talking about protecting a limited number of particularly sensitive areas that have been set aside to benefit wildlife and for the enjoyment of people who enjoy wildlife.”

The regulations could include conditional use or outright prohibitions, when necessary, to protect the safety of wildlife, natural habitats or visitors, says the society.

“There’s no denying the rapidly increasing number of drones in public spaces,” says Holden. “Now is the time to take preventative steps to protect California’s wildlife and natural habitats before it becomes a problem.”


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