Section 408

Section 408 Permission

A Section 408 permission is required when altering a Federal project.  The authority to grant permission for temporary or permanent alteration is contained in Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and codified in 33 USC 408 (Section 408).  The purpose of the Section 408 review is to ensure proposed alterations to federal projects do not compromise the original purpose of the federal project or increase life safety risks.  The process for review and approval of all requests to modify, alter, or occupy any existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works projects is described below.  Engineering Circular 1165-2-220, Policy and Procedural Guidance for Processing Requests to Alter US Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Projects Pursuant to 33 USC 408, provides the procedural guidance that the Memphis District follows in processing Section 408 requests for civil works projects that were constructed with federal funds.

Civil works projects includes levees, flood reduction channels, navigation channels, and any other flood risk management , navigation, recreation, infrastructure and environmental stewardship projects constructed or planned by the Corps of Engineers. 

Engineering Circular 1165-2-220 and additional information is available at the Headquarters Section 408 Site; the link is provided under Resources on this page.

Section 408 Permissions Process

Communication and Pre-Coordination:  The Section 408 Coordinator is the public’s contact for processing Section 408 permissions.  All communication must go through the Section 408 Coordinator who will coordinate the review and provide final decisions to the applicant.  The Section 408 Coordinator contact information is provided on this page. Early communication and pre-coordination with the Memphis District, and the non-federal local sponsor who has operation and maintenance responsibilities, is critical to ensure a timely and efficient review.

Submission of Section 408 request: A Section 408 request is submitted by private, public, tribal, or other non-federal entities to the Memphis District Section 408 Coordinator.  The requestor must submit a Section 408 request application form to the Memphis District.  The form is available through the Section 408 Coordinator.  Documentation must be provided with the application providing information showing project intent which includes complete description of work and a specified level of details (partial plans & specs) necessary for review.  Please contact the Section 408 Coordinator if unsure whether a Section 408 permissions is required.

Submittal links: In order to facilitate the synchronization of USACE, Memphis District Regulatory Program (Section 10/404 reviews) and the Section 408 Program reviews, requestors should provide a single submittal that includes both the Section 10/404 application and the request for the Section 408 permission to the email address:  Once received the requestor will be contacted verifying receipt of the documents and provided additional information.

Review of request: A Section 408 review includes an engineering, environmental, real estate and legal review to ensure the alteration does not impair the usefulness of the federal project and is not injurious to the public’s interest. USACE procedures for reviewing requests for Section 408 permission is contained in Engineering Circular 1165-2-220.  The levee system sponsor’s will be involved with decisions on any project proposed on or near the levee systems.

Approval:  The Memphis District Engineer or his designee has the authority to approve minor, low impact alterations or modifications to the civil works projects; however some requests which involve significant impact to the civil works feature such as levee raises, realignments, and temporary degradation of life safety measures may need Headquarter approval.

Post Permission Oversight: After permission approval, the requester will provide the Section 408 Coordinator written notification of intent at least ten (10) days prior to the start of construction.  The requester is responsible for construction oversight to ensure construction is performed per the approved plans and specifications submitted for Section 408 review.  USACE will provide some oversight to monitor construction.  The level of monitoring will be commensurate with the complexity of the alteration.  Final As-Built documentation must be submitted to USACE upon construction completion.