Through the Civil Works program, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) serves the public by providing the nation with quality and responsible management of water resources. Given the widespread locations, many embedded within communities, there may be a need for others outside of USACE to alter or occupy projects and their associated lands. Reasons for alterations could include improvements, relocations, installing utilities or other needs.
In order to ensure that these projects continue to provide their intended benefits to the public, Congress mandated that any use or alteration of a Civil Works project by another party be subject to the approval of USACE. 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 USC 408 (Section 408).
Section 408 provides that USACE may grant permission for another party to alter a Civil Works project upon a determination that the alteration proposed will not be injurious to the public interest or impair its usefulness.
USACE’s procedures for reviewing requests for Section 408 permission is contained in Engineer Circular (EC) 1165-2-220. EC 1165-2-220 and additional information about Section 408 can be found at this link: https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Section408/.