RHA Section 10 Permit Glossary: Key Terms & Definitions for Developers and Consultants

RHA Section 10 Permit Key Terms & Definitions

Area of Potential Effects (APE): The geographic area or areas within which an undertaking may directly or indirectly cause changes in the character or use of historic properties, if any such properties exist. The area of potential effects is influenced by the scale and nature of an undertaking and may be different for different kinds of effects caused by the undertaking.1

Best Management Practices (BMPs): Schedules of activities, prohibitions of practices, maintenance procedures, and other management practices to prevent or reduce the pollution of waters of the United States. BMPs also include treatment requirements, operating procedures, and practices to control site runoff, spillage or leaks, sludge or waste disposal, or drainage from raw material storage.2

Compensatory Mitigation: The restoration (re-establishment or rehabilitation), establishment (creation), enhancement, and/or in certain circumstances preservation of aquatic resources for the purposes of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts which remain after all appropriate and practicable avoidance and minimization has been achieved.3

Discharge of Dredged Material: Any addition of dredged material into, including redeposit of dredged material other than incidental fallback within, the waters of the United States.4

Discharge of Fill Material: The addition of fill material into waters of the United States.5

Dredged Material: Material that is excavated or dredged from waters of the United States.6

Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 Consultation: The process under Section 7 of the ESA where federal agencies consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure that actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat.7

Fill Material: Material placed in waters of the United States where the material has the effect of replacing any portion of a water of the United States with dry land or changing the bottom elevation of any portion of a water of the United States.8

General Permit: A permit authorizing a category of discharges of dredged or fill material under the Section 404 program of the Clean Water Act. General permits are permits for categories of discharge which are similar in nature, will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects when performed separately, and will have only minimal cumulative adverse effect on the environment.9

Individual Permit: A permit issued following a case-by-case evaluation of a specific project involving the proposed discharge(s) in accordance with the procedures of 33 CFR Part 323, and a determination that the proposed discharge is in the public interest pursuant to 33 CFR Part 320.10

Jurisdictional Determination (JD): A written Corps determination that a wetland and/or waterbody is subject to regulatory jurisdiction under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act or a written determination that a waterbody is subject to regulatory jurisdiction under Section 9 or 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.11

Letter of Permission (LOP): A type of permit issued through an abbreviated processing procedure which includes coordination with federal and state fish and wildlife agencies and a public interest evaluation, but without the publishing of an individual public notice.12

Mitigation: Avoiding, minimizing, rectifying, reducing, or compensating for resource losses.13

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): The federal law that established a national policy for the environment, requires federal agencies to become aware of the environmental ramifications of their proposed actions, requires them to fully disclose to the public proposed federal actions and provide a mechanism for public input to federal decision-making, and requires federal agencies to prepare environmental impact statements for every major action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment.14

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 Consultation: The process under Section 106 of the NHPA where federal agencies must take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment.15

Nationwide Permit (NWP): A type of general permit that authorizes activities that are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts.16

Navigable Waters: Those waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or are presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible for use to transport interstate or foreign commerce. A determination of navigability, once made, applies laterally over the entire surface of the waterbody, and is not extinguished by later actions or events which impede or destroy navigable capacity.17

Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM): That line on the shore 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 areas.18

Permit: A written authorization issued by an approved agency to implement the requirements of a regulation.19

Pre-Application Consultation: The process where permit applicants engage with permitting agencies early in the project planning process to discuss the proposed project, identify potential impacts and requirements, and determine the appropriate permit pathway.

Public Interest Review: The process where the Corps evaluates a permit application to determine the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of a proposed activity and its intended use on the public interest.20

Public Notice: A notice issued by the Corps to inform the public of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought and to solicit comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impact on the public interest.21

Regional General Permit (RGP): A type of general permit issued by a division or district engineer for a category of activities when those activities are substantially similar in nature and cause only minimal individual and cumulative environmental impacts.22

Section 401 Water Quality Certification: A state certification required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act for any activity that may result in a discharge into waters of the United States to ensure compliance with applicable water quality standards.23

Standard Permit: A type of permit issued following a case-by-case evaluation of a specific project involving the proposed discharge(s) in accordance with the procedures of 33 CFR Part 323, and a determination that the proposed discharge is in the public interest pursuant to 33 CFR Part 320.24

Structure: 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 obstacle or obstruction.25

Turbidity: A condition in water or wastewater caused by the presence of suspended matter, resulting in the scattering and absorption of light rays. Higher turbidity levels cause water to appear cloudy or murky.26

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE): The federal agency responsible for administering the Section 10 permit program under the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.

Watershed Approach: An analytical process for making compensatory mitigation decisions that support the sustainability or improvement of aquatic resources in a watershed.27

Work: Dredging, disposing of dredged material, filling, excavation, or other modification of a navigable water of the United States.28


  1. 36 CFR § 800.16(d)

  2. 40 CFR § 122.2

  3. 33 CFR § 332.2

  4. 33 CFR § 323.2(d)(1)

  5. 33 CFR § 323.2(f)

  6. 33 CFR § 323.2(c)

  7. 16 U.S.C. § 1536

  8. 33 CFR § 323.2(e)

  9. 33 CFR § 322.2(f)

  10. 33 CFR § 323.2(h)

  11. 33 CFR § 331.2

  12. 33 CFR § 325.2(e)(1)

  13. 40 CFR § 1508.20

  14. 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.

  15. 54 U.S.C. § 306108

  16. 33 CFR § 330.1(b)

  17. 33 CFR § 329.4

  18. 33 CFR § 328.3(e)

  19. 33 CFR § 322.2(d)

  20. 33 CFR § 320.4(a)

  21. 33 CFR § 325.3(a)

  22. 33 CFR § 325.2(e)(2)

  23. 33 U.S.C. § 1341

  24. 33 CFR § 325.5(b)(1)

  25. 33 CFR § 322.2(b)

  26. 40 CFR § 122.2

  27. 33 CFR § 332.2

  28. 33 CFR § 322.2(c)

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A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the . However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.