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Section 408

Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and codified in 33 USC 408 (commonly referred to as “Section 408”) authorizes the Secretary of the Army, on the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), to grant permission for the alteration or occupation or use of a USACE civil works project if the Secretary determines that the activity will not be injurious to the public interest and will not impair the usefulness of the project.

On July 31, 2014 USACE issued Engineer Circular (EC) 1165-2-216, Policy and Procedural Guidance for Processing Requests to Alter U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Projects Pursuant to 33 USC 408.

The purpose of this policy is to improve consistency in processing requests both geographically and across Civil Works project types, outline a process that is scalable to be commensurate with the anticipated impacts of an alteration, and provide those seeking alteration a clear understanding of information required by them in seeking alteration to a USACE project. 


The EC provides the policies and procedural guidance for an overall review process that can be tailored to the scope, scale, and complexity of individual proposed alternations, and provides infrastructure specific considerations for dams, levees, floodwalls, flood risk management channels, and navigation projects. 

Over the next two years, and in accordance with WRRDA 2014, USACE will be seeking ways to improve the Section 408 process and will issue a revised policy based on feedback and lessons learned.