DOI UAS Authorized Areas

Where do we operate our UAS?

Today, DOI manages the Nation’s public lands and minerals, including providing access to more than 500 million acres of public lands, 700 million acres of subsurface minerals, and 1.7 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf. The DOI is the steward of 20 percent of the Nation’s lands, including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and public lands; manages resources that supply 23 percent of the Nation’s energy; supplies and manages water in the 17 Western States and supplies 17 percent of the Nation’s hydropower energy; and upholds Federal trust responsibilities to 566 federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Natives. The DOI is responsible for migratory bird and wildlife conservation; historic preservation; endangered species conservation; surface-mined lands protection and restoration; mapping, geological, hydrological, and biological science for the Nation; and financial and technical assistance for the insular areas.

The Department has had and active UAS program since 2006.  Over the last 10 years our bureaus have conducted over 19 different mission types including but not limited to, wildlife research, monitoring cultural resources, inspecting coal mines, hydrologic research, wildland fire management and dam inspections.

The FAA and the DOI have a memorandum of agreement that allows DOI ready access to operate its fleet of UAS over DOI lands (fig.1) and the outer continental shelf (fig. 2).

Fig 1. DOI Surface Lands
Figure 1

Fig 2. US Continental Shelf Boundary Areas
Figure 2

DOI Flight Hours by Mission Type - 2015