The Nashville, Tenn., district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has implemented a new policy governing the use of recreational unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at all Nashville District lakes within the Cumberland River Basin.
The guidance has designated safe locations for hobbyists to fly drones for hobbyists. It also prohibits drones near recreational areas such as designated swim beaches. The policy also prohibits UAS flights near critical infrastructure, such as locks, dams, power plants and switchyards.
The corps notes that drones should be operated in accordance with applicable state laws and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
In addition, operators will be held liable for any damage to Corps of Engineers property resulting from piloting a drone or any other activity associated with operating it, the corps says, adding that the operation of unmanned aircraft that harasses or jeopardizes wildlife, including listed endangered and threatened species or critical habitat, is prohibited.
“Critical habitat” includes areas that contain the physical and biological features that are essential to the conservation of a given species or group of species and that may require special management or protection, according to the corps.
Violations may result in removal from federal property and potential citations.
Additionally, commercial drone operators and video production companies must contact the lake resource managers’ offices to obtain an event permit to film at a Nashville District lake. They must also contact the Public Affairs Office for a production assistance agreement before filming, which takes a minimum of two weeks to accomplish.