The Section 408 Program

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Section 408 program allows another party, such as a local government, company, or individual, to alter a USACE Civil Works project. Given the widespread locations of these projects, many embedded within communities, over time there may be a need to either alter or occupy these projects and their associated lands. Reasons for alterations could include improvements to the projects, relocation of part of the project, or installing utilities or other non-project features.

Examples of projects that need USACE Section 408 permission include:

  • Running a water main from one side of a levee to the other.
  • Adding hydropower to a dam.
  • Building a bridge across a navigable waterway maintained and surveyed by USACE.
  • Building a swimming pool in a backyard, within the footprint of the USACE easement for a levee.

The Section 408 program verifies that changes to authorized USACE Civil Works projects will not be injurious to the public interest and will not impair the usefulness of the project. This requirement was established in Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, which has since been amended several times, and is codified at 33 U.S.C. 408–the section of U.S. Code that gives the program its name.

Section 408: Resources for Getting Started

If you are looking for information about how to navigate the Section 408 program, these resources are for you. During the program’s Summer 2022 Listening Session Series, stakeholders and Section 408 coordinators from USACE districts across the country asked for tools to help guide them through the ins and outs of seeking permission to alter a USACE Civil Works project—especially for those who are new or unfamiliar with program processes.

The following materials were designed with this feedback in mind:

These materials are a great place to start—and for even more information, please see the section below, “Who can I talk with about a Section 408 request?” to get connected with a Section 408 coordinator.

Summer 2022 Listening Session Series

USACE has continued to review and make improvements to enhance the consistency and efficiency of the Section 408 program nationwide since the first national policy memorandum documenting Section 408 procedures was published in 2006. In that same spirit of continuous improvement, USACE sought feedback in the summer of 2022 from stakeholders with an interest in the Section 408 program.

USACE hosted a series of eight virtual listening sessions, six for the public and two for USACE staff, to understand stakeholders’ experiences with the program as well as opportunities for future adjustments. The original schedule included four public sessions, however two additional public sessions were added in September due to significant interest. Stakeholders were also able to submit feedback by email.

The listening sessions were attended by 427 stakeholders representing state and local government, federal agencies, industry, universities, and non-profits. USACE staff listening sessions were attended by 134 USACE team members representing 35 districts.

USACE would like to thank all who participated in the listening session series. Stakeholder feedback is tremendously valuable and greatly appreciated. 

The following are now available for download:

  • Summer 2022 Listening Session Series Summary Report (download)
  • Summer 2022 Listening Session Series Presentation (download)
  • Summer 2022 Listening Session Series Fact Sheet (download)

Who can I talk with about a Section 408 request?

If you are considering making alterations to a USACE Civil Works project, such as a levee, dam, or navigable waterway, we encourage you to check out your USACE district’s webpage for information on their Civil Works projects or contact your USACE district’s Section 408 coordinator as soon as possible. A pre-application meeting can be helpful to understand the requirements.

Your district Section 408 coordinator can confirm whether a Section 408 request is needed and answer any questions you have about the process of submitting a request. Contact information for district Section 408 coordinators can be found via USACE district webpages.

Once your request has been submitted, you may view the status of your Section 408 request and/or Regulatory permit via the USACE Permit Finder.

Where can I find more information about Section 408?

The links below provide more in-depth information about Section 408 and the Section 408 program:

For more information, or if you have any questions about Section 408, please email HQ-Section408@usace.army.mil.

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