The information in this document is advisory and provided to aid in the permit application process. The information is subject to change without prior notice. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps") has final authority on the interpretation and enforcement of information provided in this document.
- The Corps will not recommend film locations. Please contact a location company or the California Film Commission instead.
- Different procedures exist depending on the ownership of the land of the filming location, namely whether owned by the Corps (e.g., Corps Dams), or owned by another party (e.g., Los Angeles River). Please see the sections below for more information specific to your location. If you are unsure what party owns the land for your film location, please coordinate with FilmL.A. or the Corps, who can provide channel ownership maps. In particular, please note:
- Filming to occur in the Los Angeles River (or other land not owned by the Corps) requires coordination with FilmL.A. (see below, COORDINATION WITH FILML.A.), but does not require an application fee from the Corps.
- Filming to occur on Corps-owned land, e.g., Sepulveda, Hansen, Whittier Narrows, or Santa Fe Dam Areas, requires an initial non-refundable application deposit of $750, as well as additional final fees.
Please consider the following timing information when requesting filming date(s):
- In general, filming is not permitted on Corps-owned property during the rainy season of October 15-April 15, due to safety concerns.
- All permit applications must be submitted at least thirty (30) days prior to the requested film date(s).
- Permits for filming for three (3) or more days or for activities occurring on operations land will require the preparation of a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document. The preparation of this document must be paid for in advance by the applicant, and a permit application will not be approved before the NEPA document is completed. The document can typically be prepared in six (6) to ten (10) weeks. An environmental document may also be required for unusual activities (see UNUSUAL ACTIVITIES section, below).
- Back-to-back filming permits are not allowed.
- The Corps is not responsible for scheduling film dates at non-Corps-owned property, such as the Los Angeles River. All scheduling conflicts regarding non-Corps-owned property must be coordinated with FilmL.A. The Corps will not be responsible for scheduling conflicts regarding non-Corps-owned property.
The Corps requires all film permit applicants to complete a Site Access Coordination Info Form so that the Corps knows when and where those involved with the filming are located in the event of flooding, and how to quickly provide notification if evacuation is necessary. You must be ready to evacuate all people and equipment immediately if the Corps or others notify you to do so.
Applications to film utilizing unusual activities, i.e., aircraft, stunts, explosives, or livestock, must be submitted as soon as possible to avoid delay in the application process. The Corps reviews such requests on a case-by-case basis, and many unusual activities will not be permitted, due to safety concerns. When describing unusual activities in your application, please use plain English and provide specific details. Some film projects will need additional Corps engineering, safety, and/or environmental review(s), which may require additional time and fees. A safety monitor may also need to be hired by the applicant to monitor the filming. In addition, other third parties may require other permits for unusual activities, such as a Fire Permit from the County. Please provide a copy of any such additional permits to the Corps as soon as possible.
The Corps does not offer scouts for the Los Angeles River, since the Corps does not charge a fee. Scouts for Corps-owned property may be available for an additional fee. You may scout on your own but do not enter flooded areas. To scout Sepulveda, walk to the "pillbox" on the dam, south of Burbank Boulevard (immediately before the southbound 405 on-ramp). We do not unlock the second, inner gate for scouts. Intense scouting may require use day or monitor fees.