As used in this chapter:

(A) "Applicant" means any person who files an application for a permit under the provisions of this chapter.

(B) "Coastal zone" means all coastal waters and submerged lands seaward to the State's jurisdictional limits and all lands and waters in the counties of the State which contain any one or more of the critical areas. These counties are Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Horry, Jasper and Georgetown.

(C) "Division" means the Coastal Division of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

(D) "CDPS" means Coastal Division Permitting Staff.

(E) "Saline waters" means those waters which contain a measurable quantity of sea water, at least one part chloride ion per thousand.

(F) "Coastal waters" means the navigable waters of the United States subject to the ebb and flood of the tide and which are saline waters, shoreward to their mean high-water mark. Provided, however, that the department may designate boundaries which approximate the mean extent of saline waters until such time as the mean extent of saline waters can be determined scientifically.

(G) "Tidelands" means all areas which are at or below mean high tide and coastal wetlands, mudflats, and similar areas that are contiguous or adjacent to coastal waters and are an integral part of the estuarine systems involved. Coastal wetlands include marshes, mudflats, and shallows and means those areas periodically inundated by saline waters whether or not the saline waters reach the area naturally or through artificial water courses and those areas that are normally characterized by the prevalence of saline water vegetation capable of growth and reproduction. Provided, however, nothing in this definition shall apply to wetland areas that are not an integral part of an estuarine system. Further, until such time as the exact geographic extent of this definition can be scientifically determined, the department shall have the authority to designate its approximate geographic extent.

(H) "Beaches" means those lands subject to periodic inundation by tidal and wave action so that no nonlittoral vegetation is established.

(I) "Primary ocean front sand dunes" means those dunes which constitute the front row of dunes adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean.

(J) "Critical area" means any of the following:

(1) coastal waters;

(2) tidelands;

(3) beaches;

(4) beach/dune system which is the area from the mean high-water mark to the setback line as determined in Section 48-39-280.

(K) "Person" means any individual, organization, association, partnership, business trust, estate trust, corporation, public or municipal corporation, county, local government unit, public or private authority and shall include the State of South Carolina, its political subdivisions and all its departments, boards, bureaus or other agencies, unless specifically exempted by this chapter.

(L) "Estuarine sanctuary" means a research area designated as an estuarine sanctuary by the Secretary of Commerce.

(M) "Marine sanctuary" means any water and wetland areas designated as a marine sanctuary by the Secretary of Commerce.

(N) "Minor development activities" means the construction, maintenance, repair or alteration of any private piers or erosion control structure, the construction of which does not involve dredge activities.

(O) "Dredging" means the removal or displacement by any means of soil, sand, gravel, shells or other material, whether of intrinsic value or not, from any critical area.

(P) "Filling" means either the displacement of saline waters by the depositing into critical areas of soil, sand, gravel, shells or other material or the artificial alteration of water levels or water currents by physical structure, drainage ditches or otherwise.

(Q) "Submerged lands" means those river, creek and ocean bottoms lying below mean low-water mark.

(R) "Oil" means crude petroleum oil and all other hydrocarbons, regardless of specific gravity, that are produced in liquid form by ordinary production methods, but does not include liquid hydrocarbons that were originally in a gaseous phase in the reservoir.

(S) "Gas" means all natural gas and all other fluid hydrocarbons not hereinabove defined as oil, including condensate because it originally was in the gaseous phase in the reservoir.

(T) "Fuel" means gas and oil.

(U) "Emergency" means any unusual incident resulting from natural or unnatural causes which endanger the health, safety or resources of the residents of the State, including damages or erosion to any beach or shore resulting from a hurricane, storm or other such violent disturbance.

(V) "Department" means the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

(W) "Board" means the board of the department.

(X) "Maintenance dredging" means excavation to restore the depth of underwater lands or restore channels, basins, canals, or similar waterway accesses to depths and dimensions that support and maintain prior or existing levels of use that previously have been dredged pursuant to a license issued by the department or an exemption as provided in Section 48-39-130(D)(10) as added by Act 41 of 2011.