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Section 408 Overview

Through the Civil Works program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) serves the public by providing the Nation with quality and responsive management of the Nation’s water resources.  As a result, USACE, in partnership with stakeholders, has constructed many Civil Works projects across the Nation’s landscape.  Given the widespread locations of these projects, many embedded within communities, over time there may be a need for others outside of USACE to 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. 

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 is 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 and will not impair the usefulness of the Civil Works project.

Synchronization with USACE’s Regulatory Program

If a proposed alteration to a Civil Works project involves construction or filling activities within waters of the United States, including wetlands, a permit from USACE’s Regulatory Program may be required.  In the event that both a Regulatory permit and a Section 408 permission are required for a proposed project, the Regulatory permit decision cannot be issued, before or without, the Section 408 permission decision. 

How to Apply for a Section 408 Permission

To determine if a Section 408 review will be required, USACE needs specific information about your project.  Our Section 408 Submittal Package Guide details the information that we will need in order to evaluate your project:

Contact

Applicants are encouraged to engage in dialogue with USACE early in the project planning process. Please contact:

Robert Youhas
Regulatory Branch
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District
100 Penn Square East
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3390
(215) 656-6729
robert.youhas@usace.army.mil