Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and codified in 33 U.S.C. § 408 (Section 408) authorizes the Secretary of the Army, on the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), to grant permission for the alteration or occupation or use of a USACE civil works project if the Secretary determines that the activity will not be injurious to the public interest and will not impair the usefulness of the project.
Alterations proposed within a federally-constructed Flood Risk Reduction Project’s (FRRP) right-of-way are subject to Section 408. Engineering Circular (EC) 1165-2-220 defines an alteration as any action by any entity other than the USACE that temporarily or permanently builds upon, alters, improves, moves, occupies, or otherwise affects the usefulness, or the structural or ecological integrity of a USACE project. If the requestor is not the non-federal sponsor, the requestor must first submit the request to the non-federal sponsor and receive a written Statement of No Objection prior to submission to USACE.
Additional policy guidance can be found at the HQUSACE website.
Environmental Assessment for Alterations
The Omaha District has prepared a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for each state in the District’s area of responsibility to address the potential environmental impacts of specific alterations to FRRPs in the PL 84-99 Program that are similar in nature and have minor to negligible impacts. If the proposed Section 408 alteration would have more than a minor adverse effect, the alteration request must include a separate Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Note that the categorical permissions listed in the PEAs are for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance documentation only; proposed alterations will always require technical review through Section 408.
To request information, email Section408NWO@usace.army.mil