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.


Refraction (of water waves)

(1) Process by which direction of a wave moving in shallow water at an angle to the contours is changed. Part of the wave advancing in shallower water moves more slowly than the part still advancing in deeper water, causing the wave crest to bend toward alignment with the underwater contours. (2) Bending of wave crests by currents. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Low Cost Shore Protection: A Property Owner's Guide, 2004)

Restoration

The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning natural historic functions to a former or degraded aquatic resource. For the purpose of tracking net gains in aquatic resource area, restoration is divided into two categories: re-establishment and rehabilitation. (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Revetments

1. Bank protection by armor, that is, by facing of a bank or embankment with erosion-resistant material. 2. (NAVFAC DM-26.3) a facing built to protect a scarp, embankment, or shore structure against erosion by wave action or currents. 3. A facing of stone, concrete, etc., to protect an EMBANKMENT, or shore structure, against erosion by wave action or currents. 4. A retaining wall. 5. Facing of stone, concrete, etc., built to protect a SCARP, EMBANKMENT or shore structure against erosion by waves of currents. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory Glossary)

Riffle and pool complex

Riffle and pool complexes are special aquatic sites under the 404(b)(1) Guidelines. Riffle and pool complexes sometimes characterize steep gradient sections of streams. Such stream sections are recognizable by their hydraulic characteristics. The rapid movement of water over a course substrate in riffles results in a rough flow, a turbulent surface, and high dissolved oxygen levels in the water. Pools are deeper areas associated with riffles. A slower stream velocity, a streaming flow, a smooth surface, and a finer substrate characterize pools. (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Riparian

Land areas directly influenced by a body of water; usually pertains to the banks of a river, stream, or waterway that have visible vegetation or a physical characteristic showing influence by a water body. The 100 year flood plain plus any adjacent wetland integral to the surface water (U.S. vs. Riverside Bayview Homes, Inc., 474 U.S. 121, 106 S. Ct. 455 (1985). (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, In-Water and Riparian Management of Sediment and Dredged Material, November 2004)

Salt wedge

A layer of salt water that lies beneath a layer of fresh water within the lower reaches of an estuary; the separation of the two layers persists as the fresh water is substantially less dense than the salt water and the water column is not sufficiently mixed by wave and tidal action; the salt water layer decreases in depth with increasing elevation of the channel bottom, with the upstream point defined by an intercept with the bottom; the salt wedge moves downstream and upstream within the distributary channels of a estuary with outgoing and incoming tides, respectively. (Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Hudson River Shoreline Restoration Alternatives Analysis, 2006)

Section 401 – Clean Water Act

Requires applicants to obtain a certification or waiver from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for any activity that may result in a discharge of a pollutant into waters of the United States, including any dredged or fill materials. This agency reviews the effect on water quality standards. (US Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, Regulatory Branch)

Section 404 Permit _ Clean Water Act (Army Corps)

Prohibits the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States without a permit from the Corps of Engineers. The phrase "waters of the United States" includes navigable waters, but also includes non-navigable waterbodies, perennial and intermittent streams, wetlands, mudflats, and ponds. (US Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, Regulatory Branch)

Section 404 Permit Ð Clean Water Act (Army Corps)

Prohibits the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States without a permit from the Corps of Engineers. The phrase "waters of the United States" includes navigable waters, but also includes non-navigable waterbodies, perennial and intermittent streams, wetlands, mudflats, and ponds. (US Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, Regulatory Branch)

Service area of a mitigation bank

The service area of a wetland or natural habitat mitigation bank shall be consistent with that in the Federal Guidance for the Establishment, Use and Operation of Mitigation Banks (60 FR 58605, November 28, 1995), i.e., the designated area (e.g., watershed, county) wherein a bank can be expected to provide appropriate compensation for impacts to wetlands and/or other aquatic or natural habitat resources. (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 777, March 2016)

Shellfish seeding

The placement of shellfish seed and/or suitable substrate to increase shellfish production. Shellfish seed consists of immature individual shellfish or individual shellfish attached to shells or shell fragments (i.e., spat on shell). Suitable substrate may consist of shellfish shells, shell fragments, or other appropriate materials placed into waters for shellfish habitat. (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Single and complete project

The term "single and complete project" is defined at 33 CFR 330.2(i) as the total project proposed or accomplished by one owner/developer or partnership or other association of owners/developers. For linear projects, the "single and complete project" (i.e., a single and complete crossing) will apply to each crossing of a separate water of the U.S. (i.e., a single water body) at that location. An exception is for linear projects crossing a single water body several times at separate and distant locations: each crossing is considered a single and complete project. However, individual channels in a braided stream or river, or individual arms of a large, irregularly shaped wetland or lake, are not separate water bodies. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)

State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)

Article 8 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law. SEQRA requires that state and local governmental agencies assess environmental effects of discretionary actions before undertaking, funding or approving such actions, unless they fall within certain statutory or regulatory exemptions from the requirements for review. SEQRA is implemented by 6 NYCRR Part 617. (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

State Environmental Quality Review Act: (SEQRA)

Article 8 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law. SEQRA requires that state and local governmental agencies assess environmental effects of discretionary actions before undertaking, funding or approving such actions, unless they fall within certain statutory or regulatory exemptions from the requirements for review. SEQRA is implemented by 6 NYCRR Part 617. (NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability)

State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES permit)

New York State has a State program that has been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the control of wastewater and storm water discharges in accordance with the act. Under New York State law the program is known as the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) and is broader in scope than that required by the act in that it controls point source discharges to groundwaters as well as surface waters. (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)

Statement of Findings

A Statement of Findings is a written statement prepared by each involved agency after an FEIS has been filed that considers the relevant environmental impacts presented in an EIS, weighs and balances them with social, economic, and other essential considerations, provides a rationale for the agency's decision, and certifies that the CEQR requirements have been met. (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

Storm surge

1. A rise above normal water level on the open coast due to the action of wind stress on the water surface. Storm surge resulting from a hurricane also includes that rise in level due to atmospheric pressure reduction as well as that due to wind stress. (See wind setup) 2. A departure from a normal elevation of the sea due to the piling up of water against a coast by strong winds such as those accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. Reduced atmospheric pressure often contributes to the departure height during hurricanes. It is potentially catastrophic, especially, in deltaic regions with onshore winds at the time of high tide and extreme wind wave heights. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory Glossary)

Stormwater management facilities

Stormwater management facilities are those facilities, including but not limited to, stormwater retention and detention ponds and best management practices, which retain water for a period of time to control runoff and/or improve the quality (i.e., by reducing the concentration of nutrients, sediments, hazardous substances and other pollutants) of stormwater runoff. (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Stream

A watercourse or portion thereof, including the bed and banks thereof. Small ponds or lakes with a surface area at mean low water level of 10 acres or less and located in the course of a stream shall be considered part of a stream and subject to regulation under this Part. A stream does not include a pond or lake having a surface area of greater than 10 acres at mean low water level. (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)

Structure

An object that is arranged in a definite pattern of organization. Examples of structures include, without limitation, any pier, boat dock, boat ramp, wharf, dolphin, weir, boom, breakwater, bulkhead, revetment, riprap, jetty, artificial island, artificial reef, permanent mooring structure, power transmission line, permanently moored floating vessel, piling, aid to navigation, or any other manmade obstacle or obstruction. (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Terrace

A geological term for a step-like landform that borders a shoreline or river floodplain and represents the former position of either a floodplain or the shoreline of a lake, sea, or ocean. A terrace consists of a flat or gently sloping geomorphic surface that is typically bounded one side by a steeper ascending slope, which called a ñriserî or ñscarp,î on one side and a steeper descending slope (riser or scarp) on its other side. (Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Living Shoreline Design Guidelines for Shore Protection in Virginia' s Estuarine Environments, 2010)

Tidal range

Difference in height between consecutive high and low or higher high and lower low) waters. The mean range is the difference in height between mean high water and mean low water. The diurnal range is the difference in height between mean higher high water and mean lower low water. For diurnal tides, the mean and diurnal range are identical. For semidiurnal and mixed tides, the spring range is the difference in height between the high and low waters during the time of spring tides. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Low Cost Shore Protection: A Property Owner's Guide, 2004)

Tidal wetland

A tidal wetland is a wetland (i.e., water of the U.S.) that is inundated by tidal waters. The definitions of a wetland and tidal waters can be found at 33 CFR 328.3(b) and 33 CFR 328.3(f), respectively. Tidal waters rise and fall in a predictable and measurable rhythm or cycle due to the gravitational pulls of the moon and sun. Tidal waters end where the rise and fall of the water surface can no longer be practically measured in a predictable rhythm due to masking by other waters, wind, or other effects. Tidal wetlands are located channelward of the high tide line (i.e., spring high tide line) and are inundated by tidal waters two times per lunar month, during spring high tides. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)

Tidal wetland (NYS DEC)

Generally, tidal wetlands or wetland shall mean any lands delineated as tidal wetlands on an inventory map and shall comprise the following classifications as delineated on such map: Coastal fresh marsh; intertidal marsh; coastal shoals, bars and flats; littoral zone; high marsh or salt meadow; or formerly connected tidal wetlands. Tidal wetlands are more fully defined in ECL _25-0103(1) and its implementing regulations. (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, In-Water and Riparian Management of Sediment and Dredged Material, November 2004)

Tidal wetland (USACE)

A tidal wetland is a wetland (i.e., water of the U.S.) that is inundated by tidal waters. The definitions of a wetland and tidal waters can be found at 33 CFR 328.3(b) and 33 CFR 328.3(f), respectively. Tidal waters rise and fall in a predictable and measurable rhythm or cycle due to the gravitational pulls of the moon and sun. Tidal waters end where the rise and fall of the water surface can no longer be practically measured in a predictable rhythm due to masking by other waters, wind, or other effects. Tidal wetlands are located channelward of the high tide line (i.e., spring high tide line) and are inundated by tidal waters two times per lunar month, during spring high tides. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)

Tidal wetlands

Generally, tidal wetlands or wetland shall mean any lands delineated as tidal wetlands on an inventory map and shall comprise the following classifications as delineated on such map: Coastal fresh marsh; intertidal marsh; coastal shoals, bars and flats; littoral zone; high marsh or salt meadow; or formerly connected tidal wetlands. Tidal wetlands are more fully defined in ECL ¤25-0103(1) and its implementing regulations. (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, In-Water and Riparian Management of Sediment and Dredged Material, November 2004)

Tide

Periodic rising and falling of water resulting from gravitational attraction of the moon, sun and other astronomical bodies acting upon the rotating earth. Although the accompanying horizontal movement of the water resulting from the same cause is also sometimes called tide, it is preferable to designate the latter as tidal current, reserving the name Tide for vertical movement. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Low Cost Shore Protection: A Property Owner's Guide, 2004)

Toxicity

1. (EM 1110-2-5026) A term describing the limit of intolerance of organisms to survive lethal chronic or short-term subjection to certain chemical and contaminating substances physical and environmental conditions. 2. The level of mortality by a group of organisms that have been affected by the properties of a substance, such as contaminated water, sediment, or dredged material. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory Glossary)

Type I Action

An action that is more likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment than other actions or classes of actions. A list of Type I actions appears in the SEQR regulations at 6 NYCRR 617.4 and are supplemented with a city-specific list found at 43 RCNY 6-15. (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

Type I Action:

An action that is more likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment than other actions or classes of actions. A list of Type I actions appears in the SEQR regulations at 6 NYCRR 617.4 and are supplemented with a city-specific list found at 43 RCNY 6-15. (NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability)

Type II Action

An action that has been either found categorically not to have significant adverse impacts on the environment or statutorily exempted from review under SEQRA, and correspondingly, CEQR. No action or class of actions listed as Type II in 6 NYCRR 617.5 requires further review under CEQR. (NYC Mayor' s Office of Sustainability)

Type II Action:

An action that has been either found categorically not to have significant adverse impacts on the environment or statutorily exempted from review under SEQRA, and correspondingly, CEQR. No action or class of actions listed as Type II in 6 NYCRR 617.5 requires further review under CEQR. (NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability)