Huntington Beach

No drones over Bolsa Chica

ELEGANT TERN fishing at Bolsa Chica (Wikipedia).

Don’t fly drones over ecologically areas.

The Huntington Beach Police Department will be working in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to educate drone pilots and enforce regulations prohibiting drone use over the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. The HBPD will also be assisting CDFW with its investigation into a recent drone crash at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. The May 12, 2021 crash resulted in approximately 3,000 Elegant Terns leaving their nesting grounds and abandoning an estimated 2,000 eggs.

Due to wildlife threat, drone use is prohibited at Bolsa Chica as stated in Title 14 CCR § 550 (aa). Drones may not be operated on CDFW lands except as authorized by a Special Use Permit issued by the department. Operation of a drone within the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve without a Special Use Permit is considered a misdemeanor, which may result in the operator receiving a citation or potentially jail time.

“The protection and conservation of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and the wildlife that call it home is an important issue,” said Interim Chief of Police Julian Harvey.

“By enhancing education and outreach relating to this issue, we hope to mitigate future disturbances to wildlife and nesting sites due to drones.”

In addition to partnering with CDFW, the HBPD will also be engaging volunteer groups Bolsa Chica Conservancy, Bolsa Chica Land Trust and Amigos de Bolsa Chica to identify ways to increase public awareness surrounding the disruption to wildlife use to drone use.

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