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Helicopter To Make Low-Level Flights Over Los Osos In April For Airborne Geophysical Survey

Helicopter, clouds, sky, trees
Flyover of a helicopter performing an Airborne Electromagnetic Survey

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Sustainable Groundwater Management Office will be conducting airborne geophysical surveys are scheduled to be conducted in your area. The surveys will be conducted in groundwater subbasins within portions of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties over several days starting in April 2023.

This survey is a part of the California Department of Water Resources' (DWR) project to conduct airborne electromagnetic (AEM) geophysical surveys throughout the state. The surveys are being conducted to improve the understanding of groundwater resources and support the local and state goal of improved groundwater management and the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The surveys are funded through voter­ approved Proposition 68 and there is no additional cost to locals. DWR's video provides more information about AEM surveys:

AEM data are collected from a large hoop towed beneath a helicopter (shown in picture and video). The method is safe, and surveys have already successfully been conducted in several locations throughout California. Surveys will only be conducted during daylight hours and the helicopter will not fly over business, homes, other inhabitable structures, or confined animal feeding operations. The helicopter operator follows all established Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations, and their highest priority is public safety. 

For more information about the surveys, visit DWR's AEM project website, For questions, please email

DWR encourages the public to get involved in their groundwater management activities through their local groundwater sustainability agency:

Note: the survey start date and the flight period provided in this notification may be extended or delayed by several weeks due to weather, wildfires, or equipment issues. Please check the AEM Survey Schedule webpage for up-to-date information on flight days:


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