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.