Network History


A motley crew of two UConn Extension land use educators and two UConn Sea Grant coastal resource educators receives an exploratory grant from the USDA Extension Water Quality Program. The grant was to develop a water quality educational program for local land use officials using the remotely sensed land cover data newly created by UConn for the Long Island Sound Study National Estuary Program.


  • Euphoria eventually wears off.
  • Principals struggle with this new remote sensing and GIS stuff, not to mention recalcitrant grad students.
  • Many meetings and much cogitation ensue….


  • First NEMO workshop held in Waterford, CT as a collaboration of the Cooperative Extension System, the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program and the Natural Resources Management and Engineering Department. Workshop a big success, even though DPW Director emphatically asks “Why would you ever want to build a road without curbs??!!” (Two decades later this still happens all the time).
  • Waterford program quickly followed by a program focused on Old Saybrook, CT, which becomes the basis for a semi-generic workshop that can be conducted in any CT community. 
  • NEMO partners with CT Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to conduct the Chester Creek and Eightmile River watershed projects in the Connecticut River “Tidelands,” named by TNC to be one of the nation’s “Last Great Places.” These projects were among the first to use GIS and RS maps and information to help create a multi-town watershed framework for water resource protection.


  • NEMO evolves into a program responding to requests from communities across the state.
  • NEMO launches program website in advance of creation of UConn website.


Supported by the EPA, for the first time CT NEMO travels to another state, North Carolina, to talk about adapting a program. Coincidentally, this marks the first (but certainly not the last) time that NEMO staff were asked to “speak a little slower” by their peers in the southern states.


NEMO hires first-ever full time NEMO Coordinator, Laurie Giannotti.


  • With more and more NEMO adaptations springing up across the country, CT NEMO convenes an interagency workgroup in Washington, DC that included USDA, EPA, NOAA, NASA, American Planning Association (APA), and National Association of Counties (NACO) to discuss the idea of forming a network.  The idea is enthusiastically endorsed. (Good thing, since we had already begun doing it.)
  • Alaska and Rhode Island express interest in starting a NEMO Program.


Alabama, New Hampshire and New Jersey express interest in starting a NEMO Program.


Maine, Ohio, Oregon and Washington express interest in starting a NEMO Program.


  • Georgia, Missouri, New York, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Indiana express interest in starting a NEMO Program.
  • At the first ever NEMO “University," established and emerging programs in 15 states gather at the Humble Haddam Home (NEMO HQ) in Haddam, CT, and the National NEMO Network was officially established. Future NEMO U traditions like boat rides and seafood scarfing are born.
  • John Rozum canters over the horizon from the West and becomes the first coordinator of the National NEMO Network.
  • Land Use Is the Issue, But Is Land Grant the Answer?
    Written by Chet Arnold, Co-Director, University of Connecticut NEMO Program; Journal of Extension 38(6).


  • Kansas, Michigan, Minnessota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, US Virgin Islands and Idaho Join the National NEMO Network.
  • CWP and NEMO sign Memorandum of Understanding, pledging undying loyalty and periodic exchanges of sportwear.
  • NOAA Sponsors Coastal NEMO Enhancement Grants to help new NEMO programs start or expand in coastal areas. Our claim (and we’re sticking to it) is that was the first time 4 branches of NOAA—Sea Grant, Coastal Services Center, Coastal Programs, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System—ever worked together. The grants program was a great idea and a great success, but alas…. a one-time wonder.


  • NEMO U2 held in Charleston, SC. NEMO tattoos unveiled (then applied, and unveiled many times thereafter).
  • Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (ISAT) Training held at Avery Point campus in Groton, CT, in collaboration with the NOAA Coastal Services Center. Seven NEMO Network programs send GIS geeks to soak up the geospatial atmosphere.
  • Open Space Boot Camp network training (also) held at Avery Point campus in Groton, CT, sponsored by the EPA Smart Growth office. 14 NEMO Network programs attend and then fan out across the nation to assist communities with open space planning.
  • Kara Bonsack is hired as the National NEMO Network Communicator.


  • NEMO U3 held at the Avery Point coastal UConn campus in Groton, CT. NEMOids relax in style on terrace and lawn of Gatsby-esque Branford House mansion.  Lawrence accused of cheating at croquet.
  • “Finding NEMO” movie released. NEMO considers suing Disney and Pixar for copyright infringement, thus potentially funding the project for years to come, but chickens out…
  • The National NEMO Network publishes its 2002 Progress Report, highlighting impacts from around the Network.


  • John Rozum switched from National Network Coordinator to CT NEMO program director, to make room for…
  • Dave Dickson, who forsakes a life of lawyerly lobbing for a stint as the second (and reigning) National Network shepherd.


  • NEMO U4ia held in Washington, DC. NEMoids stride the halls and byways of inside-the-beltway power in various degrees of comfort. LaMarr proves to be the best billiards player (no surprise).
  • NEMO Mensch Awards initiated at U4ia.
  • NEMO was highlighted in the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy’s 2004 Final Report, which recommended an expansion of NEMO efforts.
  • Through all of this, Network continues to grow in size.


  • Cinco de NEMO (NEMO U5) held in Middletown, CT. 
  • NEMO Co-founder Jim Gibbons wins Oscar for best performance in a stormwater conference opening video for his role as a blindfolded swinger in the “Making of Cinco” movie.*.
  • The National NEMO Network publishes its 2005 Progress Report, highlighting impacts from around the Network.


Forest Resources + NEMO = FREMO Workshop held in Annapolis, MD, thanks to funding from USDA. Another boat trip is shoehorned into the proceedings (of course).


  • FREMO (Forest Resources + NEMO) pilot projects launched in CT, OR, VT, MN, and NC
  • NEMO U6 held in Pacific Grove, CA. In a blatant attempt to spin the NEMO Network image into more family-values mode, social event of the week is a Rootbeer Float break (?!).
  • The National NEMO Network win the 2008 Outstanding Integrated Water Resources Program Award from USDA CSREES/NIFA.
  • Rozum, J and D. Dickson, Taking Low Impact Development from Research to Regulations, Planning Commissioners Journal, Fall 2008


  • With funding from NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) (LINK), NEMO Hub launches effort to adapt CT NEMO’s Community Resource Inventory tool to Minnesota, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Delaware, and North Carolina.
  • National Low Impact Development (LID) Atlas Launched.
  • This is believed to be the first time that Connecticut, Ohio and California ever agreed on anything, ever.
  • John Rozum delivers infamous “blank slide” presentation (Link to copy of presentation) as last official act as CT NEMO director. “Blankness is the new stupid flying-arrow animation!” crows Rozum.
  • The National NEMO Network publishes its 2008 Progresss Report, highlighting impacts from around the Network. 


NEMO U 007 held in Portland, MElink. If we told you more, we’d have to kill you.


  • Northland NEMO Watershed Game Training held in Greenland, NH. The Minnesotan trainers are a great success but suffer from crushing disappointment that it wasn’t Greenland, Greenland.
  • Dickson, D., C. Arnold and C.Chadwick. March/April 2011. National LID Atlas: A Collaborative Online Database of Innovative Stormwater Management Practices. Marine Technology Society Journal, vol. 45 no. 2 


Bill Gates cedes rest of his fortune to National NEMO Network*


* Events never actually happened. 

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