Maps, Forms & 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.

ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure)

The procedure by which uses, development, or improvement of real property subject to city regulation are reviewed pursuant to NYC Charter Section 197-c. (NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability)

Water column

An imaginary vertical column of water used as a control volume for computational purposes. Usually the size of a unit area and as deep as the depth of water at that location. (US Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory Glossary, 2015)


For purposes of the Nationwide Permits, a waterbody is a jurisdictional water of the United States. If a jurisdictional wetland is adjacent - meaning bordering, contiguous, or neighboring - to a waterbody determined to be a water of the United States, that waterbody and its adjacent wetlands are considered together as a single aquatic unit. Examples of "waterbodies" include streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and wetlands (US Army Corps of Engineers, 2012 Nationwide Permits, Conditions, and Definitions)

Waterfront commerce

The activity on waterfront property which encompasses the receipt of cargo or goods at the wharves, piers, docks or bulkheads from ships and their delivery to points inland, or the receipt of such cargo or goods at such wharves, piers, docks or bulkheads from points inland for shipment by ships, and shall include the temporary storage of such cargo or goods in the sheds or warehouses on such property pending their delivery or shipment. (Rules of the City of New York, Title 66: Department of Small Business Services)

Waterfront property

All property whether owned by The City of New York or privately owned, fronting on all the tidal waters in the port of The City of New York and including all upland extending inshore to the property line of the first adverse owner and shall include such land under water extending outshore to the pierhead line or the property line, whichever extends furthest outshore. This term includes all property defined as "wharf property" below. (Rules of the City of New York, Title 66: Department of Small Business Services)

Waters of the United States

All waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, as well as other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams, (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds. These are waters where permits are required for the discharge of dredged or fillmaterial pursuant to Section 404. (US Army Corps of Engineers New York District, Regulatory Program Applicant Information Guide, 2014)

Wetland or habitat enhancement

Activities conducted in existing wetlands or other natural habitat to achieve specific management objectives or provide conditions which previously did not exist, and which increase one or more ecosystem functions. Enhancement may involve tradeoffs between the resource structure, function, and values; a positive change in one may result in negative effects to other functions. Examples of activities which may be carried out to enhance wetlands or natural habitats include, but are not limited to, alteration of hydrologic regime, vegetation management, erosion control, fencing, integrated pest management and control, and fertilization. (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 777, March 2016)

Wetland or habitat establishment period

A period of time agreed to by the FHWA, State DOT, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as necessary to establish wetland or natural habitat functional capacity in a compensatory mitigation project sufficient to compensate wetlands or habitat losses due to impacts of Federal-aid highway projects. The establishment period may vary depending on the specific wetland or habitat type being developed. (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 777, March 2024)

Wetland or habitat functional capacity

The ability of a wetland or natural habitat to perform natural functions, such as provide wildlife habitat, support biodiversity, store surface water, or perform biogeochemical transformations, as determined by scientific functional assessment. Natural functions of wetlands include, but are not limited to, those listed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 33 CFR 320.4(b)(2)(i) through (viii). (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 777, March 2016)

Wetland or habitat preservation

The protection of ecologically important wetlands, other aquatic resources, or other natural habitats in perpetuity through the implementation of appropriate legal and physical mechanisms. Preservation of wetlands for compensatory mitigation purposes may include protection of upland areas adjacent to wetlands as necessary to ensure protection and/or enhancement of the aquatic ecosystem. (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 777, March 2016)


Under the Clean Water Act, the term wetlands means "those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas." (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, In-Water and Riparian Management of Sediment and Dredged Material, November 2004)

Wetlands or habitat mitigation credit

A unit of wetlands or habitat mitigation, defined either by area or a measure of functional capacity through application of scientific functional assessment. With respect to mitigation banks, this definition means the same as that in the Federal Guidance for the Establishment, Use, and Operation of Mitigation Banks. (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, Part 777, March 2016)

Wharf property

Wharves, piers, docks and bulkheads and structures thereon and slips and basins, the land beneath any of the foregoing, and all rights, privileges and easements appurtenant thereto and land under water in the port of The City of New York, and such upland or made land adjacent thereto owned by The City of New York as is vested in or may be assigned to the Department of Ports and Trade. (Rules of the City of New York, Title 66: Department of Small Business Services)


Waterfront Revitalization Program