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CEHA: Definitions

For full and complete definitions, see 6 NYCRR Part 505.2. (link leaves DEC's website)


Beach is the zone of earth that extends from the mean low water line, to the waterward toe of a dune or bluff, whichever is closest to the water. Where no dune of bluff exists, the limit of a beach is 100 feet landward from in the line of permanent vegetation.


Bluff is any bank or cliff with a steeply sloped face that is along a body of water. A bluff extends from the edge of a beach or nearshore area, to 25 feet landward of the bluffs peak.

Coastal Erosion Hazard Area Map

The final map issued by the DEC commissioner that delineates the boundaries of coastal erosion hazard areas that are regulated by following 6 NYCRR Part 505.

Coastal Erosion Management Permit

The permit is the written approval required by 6 NYCRR Part 505 to undertake any regulated activity within coastal erosion hazard areas as shown on Coastal Erosion Hazard Area maps.

Coastal Waters

Lake Erie and Ontario, the St. Lawrence and Niagara Rivers, the Hudson River south of the federal dam at Troy, the East River, the Harlem River, the Kill van Kull and Arthur Kull, Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, their connecting water bodies, bays, harbors, shallows, and wetlands.


Dune is a ridge or hill of loose, windblown, or artificially placed sand, and its vegetation. A dune extends from the edge of its connecting beach, to 25 feet landward from the landward toe of the dune.


Erosion is the loss or displacement of land along the coastline due to the action of waves, currents, tides, wind-driven water, waterborne ice, or other impacts of storms. It also means the loss or displacement of land due to the action of wind, runoff of surface waters, or groundwater seepage.

Erosion Hazard Area

Erosion hazard areas of coastlines are either:

  1. A natural protective feature area (NPFA)
  2. A structural hazard area (SHA)

Erosion Protection Structure

Erosion protection structures are specifically designed to reduce or prevent erosion. For example, a groin, jetty, seawall, revetment, bulkhead, breakwater, or artificial beach nourishment.

Existing Structure

Existing structures are structures that are within a coastal erosion hazard area as identified on the coastal erosion hazard area maps, and were constructed or were under a construction permit on the effective date of a local erosion hazard area law, or on the date the DEC assumed regulatory responsibility, or on the effective date of a certified revised Coastal Erosion Hazard Area Map, whichever is earlier.

Local Program

A coastal erosion management ordinance, or local law use in carrying out the purposes and polices of Article 34, and meeting the minimum standards of 6 NYCRR Part 505. (link leaves DEC's website)

Major Addition

A major addition is a 25% or greater increase in ground area coverage of a structure. Erosion protection structures, piers, docs and wharves are excluded. To calculate:

  1. Determine total ground area coverage of current structure (this includes any additions that are attached to the structure), minus any additions previously constructed to the existing structure
  2. Determine ground area coverage to be added, including any additions previously constructed
  3. Divide ground area coverage to be added (2) by ground area coverage of current structure (1)

Mean Low Water

Mean low water is the approximate average low water level for a given body of water, at a given location.


Modification is any change in size, design, or function.

Natural Protective Feature

Natural protective features are nearshore areas, beach, bluff, dune, or wetland and its vegetation.

Natural Protective Feature Area

Natural protective feature area is the land and/or water area containing a natural protective feature.

Nearshore area

Nearshore area means those lands under water beginning at the mean low waterline and extending in a direction perpendicular to the shoreline to a point where mean low water depth is 15 feet, or to a horizontal distance of 1000 feet from the mean low water line, whichever is greater.

Normal Maintenance

Normal maintenance is the periodic replacement or repair of same-kind components or protective coatings which do not change the size, design, or function of a structure (for example, shingle replacement, siding replacement, painting, or window replacements). Normal maintenance of a structure does not require a coastal erosion management permit.

Recession Rate

Recession rate is the average rate, in feet per year, at which an eroding shoreline moves landward.

Regulated Activity/Development

Regulated activity/development is construction, modification, restoration, or placement of a structure, major addition to a structure, or any action or use of land which materially alters the condition of the land. This includes grading, excavating, dumping, mining, dredging, filling, or other soil disturbance. Regulated activities do not include: routine agricultural operations involving cultivation and harvesting, and the implementation of practices recommended in a soil and water conservation plan.


Restoration is the reconstruction without modification to a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the full replacement cost of the structure at the time of restoration. Modifications, however, may be allowed if they do not exceed pre-existing size limits and are intended to mitigate impacts to natural protective features and other natural resources.


Structure is any object constructed, installed or placed in, on, or under land or water including, but not limited to, a building; permanent shed; deck; in-ground and above ground pool; garage; mobile home; road; public service distribution, transmission, or collection system; tank; pier; dock; wharf; groin; jetty; seawall; revetment; bulkhead; or breakwater; or any addition to or alteration of the same.

Structural hazard area

Structural hazard areas are shorelands located landward of natural protective features that are decreasing at a long-term average annual recession rate of 1 foot or more per year. The landward limit of a structural hazard area is calculated by measuring, from the most landward limit of the most landward natural protective feature, along a perpendicular line to the shoreline to a distance landward that measures 40 times the long-term average annual recession rate.

Erosion protection structures with the CEHA regulations are defined as:

Structures specifically designed to reduce or prevent coastal erosion such as a groin, jetty, seawall, revetment, bulkhead, breakwater, or artificial beach nourishment project.

CEHA Map Definitions

CEHA line

Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) line was used informally to collectively describe the location of the natural protective feature area (NPFA) line and the structural hazard area (SHA) lines. Regulated activities (505. 7 and 505.8 ) (links leaves DEC's website) require a Coastal Erosion Management Permit before the projects can be started.

NPFA line

Natural Protective Feature Area (NPFA) line describes the landward limit of beaches, dunes and bluffs that are regulated through a Coastal Erosion Management Permit.

SHA line

Structural Hazard Area (SHA) line describes the landward limit of the land located landward of the NPFA, which have shorelines receding at a long-term average annual recession rate of 1 foot or more per year.

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