Sacramento, Calif. – As more and more people are taking their drones for a spin in California's open spaces, there's concern that all these flying robots might not be so great for birds and other wildlife. Assembly Bill 2148, which passed out of concurrence this week, will require the state to create rules for drone use in state wildlife areas. The bill, authored by Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden and sponsored by Audubon California, is now headed to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

“California’s birds already face a host of human disturbances to their natural environment, threats that impede their ability to forage, nest, and have a successful breeding season,” said Brigid McCormack, executive director of Audubon California. “This bill ensures that our state’s wildlife remain protected in the areas most needed for their survival.”

The bill provides the National Resources Agency the ability to develop regulations regarding drone use on about 1,000,000 acres of publically managed lands in California. By requiring the development of a unified regulatory system, AB 2148 strives to create a cohesive, statewide system of rules governing the use of unmanned drones on public lands.

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

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

The proposed legislation comes as the federal government is continuing to review the use of unmanned recreational drones. The National Park Service banned the use of drones over its properties in 2014, and the Federal Aviation Administration is still in the process of creating a regulatory framework for drone use in public spaces.

About Audubon California

Audubon California is building a better future for California by bringing people together to appreciate, enjoy and protect our spectacular outdoor treasures. With more than 150,000 members and supporters in California and an affiliated 48 local Audubon chapters, Audubon California is a field program of the National Audubon Society.

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