Maps, Forms & Glossary

Glossary

In the Waterfront Navigator glossary, we’ve compiled regulatory terms and definitions from agency documents, environmental terms you will come across when doing work in wetlands and in coastal areas, and abbreviations used by agencies or on this site. Definitions cite the sources, with links back to original documents or websites for further reference.


Natural habitat

A complex of natural, primarily native or indigenous vegetation, not currently subject to cultivation or artificial landscaping, a primary purpose of which is to provide habitat for wildlife, either terrestrial or aquatic. For purposes of this part, habitat has the same meaning as natural habitat. This definition excludes rights-of-way that are acquired with Federal transportation funds specifically for highway purposes. (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 777, March 2016)

Navigable waters of the State (NY)

All lakes, rivers, streams and other bodies of water in the State that are navigable in fact or upon which vessels with a capacity of one or more persons can be operated notwithstanding interruptions to navigation by artificial structures, shallows, rapids or other obstructions, or by seasonal variations in capacity to support navigation. It does not include waters that are surrounded by land held in single private ownership at every point in their total area. (Rules and Regulations of the State of New York, Title 6. Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Chapter 5. Subchapter E, Part 608. Use and Protection of Waters, Definitions)

Navigable waters of the United States

Those waters of the United States that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide shoreward to the mean high water mark and/or are presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in the future to transport interstate or foreign commerce. These are waters that are navigable in the traditional sense where permits are required for certain activities pursuant to Section 10. This term should not be confused with the term ñwaters of the United Statesî. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)

Negative Declaration

A written document issued when the lead agency determines that there would not be a significant impact on the environment as a result of the project. See 6 NYCRR 617.2 (y). (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act of 1969)

If a federal agency funds part of a project, approves a permit, or undertakes a project, that agency must comply with NEPA before taking its action. NEPA requires all federal agencies to evaluate the environmental consequences of proposed actions and to consider alternatives. (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

Net gain of wetlands

A wetland resource conservation and management principle under which, over the long term, unavoidable losses of wetlands area or Functional capacity due to highway projects are offset by gains at a ratio greater than 1:1, through restoration, enhancement, Preservation, or creation of wetlands or associated areas critical to the protection or conservation of wetland functions. This definition Specifically excludes natural habitat, as defined in this section, other than wetlands. (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 777, March 2016)

Notice of Completion

A written document issued by the lead agency that a DEIS or FEIS has been completed. It contains prescribed information about the environmental review and, for a DEIS, information about the public comment period. (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

NYC DCP

New York City Department of City Planning

NYC DSBS

New York City Department of Small Business Services

NYC EDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation

NYS DEC

New Yorks State Department of Environmental Conservation

NYS DOS

New York State Department of State

Open water

For purposes of US Army Corps of Engineers and its Nationwide Permits, an open water is any area that in a year with normal patterns of precipitation has water flowing or standing above ground to the extent that an ordinary high water mark can be determined. Aquatic vegetation within the area of standing or flowing water is either non-emergent, sparse, or absent. Vegetated shallows are considered to be open waters. Examples of "open waters" include rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM)

The line on the shore in non-tidal areas established by the fluctuations of water and indicated by physical characteristics such as a clear, natural line impressed on the bank, shelving, changes in the character of soil, destruction of terrestrial vegetation, the presence of litter and debris, or other appropriate means that consider the characteristics of the surrounding area. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)

Perimeter

A boundary of a docking facility or mooring area consisting of a series of connected imaginary lines on a plan or map, encompassing all related structures such as docks, bulkheads, breakwaters, pilings, piers, platforms or moorings and the travel lanes and berthing areas that function together to create a facility or area at which vessels may be docked or moored. (Rules and Regulations of the State of New York, Title 6. Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Chapter 5. Subchapter E, Part 608. Use and Protection of Waters, Definitions)

Pier

A structure, usually of open construction, extending out into the water from the shore, to serve as a landing place, recreational facility, etc., rather than to afford coastal protection or affect the movement of water. In the Great Lakes, a term sometimes improperly applied to jetties. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory Glossary)

Platform

1. In oceanographic terminology, any man-made structure (aircraft, ship, buoy, or tower) from, or on which, oceanographic instruments are suspended, installed, or operated. 2. Any offshore fixed or floating structure providing a flat or specially designed working surface above the water which serves a specific and/or specialized purpose; e.g., drilling, survey, research, potable water intake, swimming-diving, or storage functions. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory Glossary)

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Hydrocarbons are an organic compound consisting exclusively of the elements hydrogen and carbon. Polycyclic hydrocarbons are made up of four or more ring structures. Aromatic refers to their strong and not unpleasant odor. PAH' s are derived principally from petroleum and coal tar sources and some have demonstrated carcinogenic properties. (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, In-Water and Riparian Management of Sediment and Dredged Material, November 2004)

Positive Declaration

A written document issued by the lead agency when it determines there is the potential for significant adverse impacts in one or more technical areas as a result of the project. A positive declaration leads to the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). See 6 NYCRR 617.2 (ac). (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

Pre-application meeting/consultation

A pre-application meeting/consultation is one or more meetings between members of the District Engineer's staff and an applicant and his agent or his consultant. A pre_application consultation is usually related to applications for major activities and may involve discussion of alternatives, environmental documents, National Environmental Policy Act procedures, and development of the scope of the data required when an environmental impact statement is required. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)

Pre-construction notification

Complete a standard individual permit application form (Form ENG 4345) to clearly indicate that it is a Pre-Construction Notification and must include all of the information required in paragraphs (b)(1) through (7) of General Condition 31. Consult the Nationwide General Permits for additional information on general conditions. (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Preservation

The removal of a threat to, or preventing the decline of, aquatic resources by an action in or near those aquatic resources. This term includes activities commonly associated with the protection and maintenance of aquatic resources through the implementation of appropriate legal and physical mechanisms. Preservation does not result in a gain of aquatic resource area or functions. (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Project

The result of an action or set of actions that is approved, funded, or undertaken at the discretion of a federal, state, or city agency. (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

Public hearing

A public hearing may be held to acquire information and give the public the opportunity to present views and opinions. The Corps may hold a hearing or participate in joint public hearings with other Federal or state agencies. The district engineer may specify in the public notice that a hearing will be held. In addition, any person may request in writing during the comment period that a hearing be held. Specific reasons must be given as to the need for a hearing. The district engineer may attempt to resolve the issue informally or he may set the date for a public hearing. Hearings are held at times and places that are convenient for the interested public. Very few applications involve a public hearing. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)

Public interest review

This term refers to the evaluation of a proposed activity to determine probable impacts. Expected benefits are balanced against reasonably foreseeable detriments. All relevant factors are weighed. Corps policy is to provide applicants with a timely and carefully weighed decision that reflects the public interest. The public interest review requires the careful weighing of all public interest factors relevant to each particular permit application. Thus, one specific factor (e.g., fish and wildlife values or economics) cannot by itself force a specific decision, but rather the decision represents the net effect of balancing all public interest factors, many of which are frequently in conflict. The public interest review is used to evaluate applications under all authorities administered by the Corps. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)