The Network was originally envisioned as a cooperative of educational programs that would assist each other in fulfilling their mission of educating local decision makers. But as the Network has grown, it has begun to demonstrate that it can be far more than the sum of its parts, helping to leverage federal and state information, programs and dollars in a unique and effective way.
Online at clear.uconn.edu/tools/lidmap
The National LID Atlas was created to highlight innovative LID practices around the country. Its goal is to encourage and educate local officials and others about low impact development practices by providing specific, local examples of their use.
Introducing LID Atlas 2.0
The National NEMO Network has launched version 2 of the National Low Impact Development (LID) Atlas. Based on Network member feedback, we have made several adjustments to the Atlas that should make it an even more user-friendly resource for adding and locating low impact development projects around the country, including: Adding projects made easy. No more waiting for a lonely grad student to wonder into your office looking for a volunteer project to get your projects added to the Atlas. Now, if you already have a database of LID projects, you can add them to the Atlas in one fell swoop. Just save/export your data as an excel file that matches the Atlas format. Contact the Hub for an excel template file. Now works with IE. We fixed a glitch in the system that was confusing the popular yet antiquated Microsoft Internet Explorer, so the Atlas now should work fine in the current version of all major browsers. Added search capabilities. We added the ability to search by project type, land use type and/or keyword to the embedded version of the Atlas (i.e. the version you can load on your very own website with just your state showing).
Franchising Web-based Tools
For more information visit CRI Online.
The Network Hub, with funding from the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) at the University of New Hampshire, is facilitating wider use of web-based geospatial tools within the NEMO Network through the “franchising” of CT’ NEMO’s Online Community Resource Inventory (CRI) tool to at least three other states: Rhode Island, Minnesota, and South Carolina.
The Online CRI, is a website that provides users with access to 14 geospatial data layers of natural, cultural, and economic resources for every town in Connecticut. As users page through the data they effective produce a basic resource inventory that can be used to inform land use planning decisions. The site serves as a complement to NEMO workshops that focus on the basic premise that good local planning should begin with an understanding of what and where the community’s natural and cultural resources are.
In January 2009, six NEMO programs (including Connecticut, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Minnesota) gathered at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus for the Community Resource Inventory (CRI) Online Tool workshop. Funded by the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), the workshop demonstrated how the Connecticut CRI Online was built and helped other NEMO programs adapt the tool to their states. Once the other states develop their version of the CRI, the Hub plans to develop an online “cookbook” of the various recipes programs used to create such a resource.
FREMO = Forest resources + NEMO
It has long been understood that the forested landscape is closely linked to water quality, and, more broadly, the overall ecologic, economic, and public health of our communities. As communities continue to grow and develop, the health of our forest lands is threatened by their conversion to other uses, fragmentation, and division into smaller lots (i.e., parcelization). Because the majority of forested land is privately-owned, the majority of educational efforts seeking to protect the forest resource have focused on individual land owners. It is becoming increasingly apparent that community land use decision makers (the focus of NEMO programs) are also critical to the sustainability of the forest resource.
Enter the NEMO Network’s Forest Resource Education for Municipal Officials (FREMO) project. Launched in 2006 in partnership with the USDA CSREES Forestry Program and the U.S. Forest Service, FREMO is an effort to integrate the forested landscape more fully into the efforts of NEMO programs to assist communities in protecting natural resources through land use planning. The approach is to facilitate the adaptation and development of educational workshops, materials and resources by Network members throughout the country that convey the impacts of forest fragmentation, parcelization, and conversion to local land use decision makers and provide land use planning based solutions for addressing those challenges.
In the fall of 2007 folks from 12 NEMO programs and their partners participated in the Forest Resource Education for Municipal Officials (FREMO) Workshop in Annapolis, Maryland. The workshop featured great discussions on the benefits of forests, the links between forested landscapes and healthy watersheds, and strategies for integrating forest-related issues into natural resource based planning.
Since the workshop, four NEMO Programs have launched FREMO projects of their own, with seed funding from USDA CSREES and the forest service via the Hub. The goal behind these projects is to develop a variety of forest related educational programs and materials that can be adapted by the rest of the Network.
Planning for Open Space
In 2002, an exciting collaboration began between the NEMO Network and the EPA Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation, Division of Development, Community and the Environment, also known as the Smart Growth Office. Through this Smart Growth through Open Space Planning partnership 14 NEMO programs in 13 states attended an August, 2002 Open Space Boot Camp training session organized by the Hub. Attendees were taught how to demystify open space planning for local leaders through a series of practical steps that outline the information gathering, prioritization, public input and public outreach phases of planning. Network programs are now in the process of developing educational programs to assist communities as they plan for open space conservation. Targeted regions, several located in some of the most rapidly growing areas in the country, include: Knox County, Tennessee; Nissequogue River watershed, Long Island, New York; Town of Northport, Maine; City of Lewes, Delaware; Scott County, Minnesota; Ogeechee River watershed, Georgia; Beaufort County, South Carolina; Hendricks County, Indiana; and City of Fairhope, Alabama.
Impervious Surface Analysis Tool
Through the work of NEMO, the Center for Watershed Protection and others, the importance of impervious surface as an indicator of water quality degradation has become widely accepted. More communities are now interested in identifying where these surfaces are located in their town or watersheds, so they can begin to develop strategies to minimize the effects of development on their water resources. A collaborative of UConn's Geospatial Technology Program, the National NEMO Network and NOAA Coastal Services Center has addressed this need by developing an add-on module for a commonly used GIS software package. Called the Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (ISAT), it helps communities estimate levels of imperviousness through the use of land cover coefficients. Since these coefficients vary considerably from region-to-region and state-to-state, a workshop was held in October 2002 to train Network members in the use of ISAT, and to develop standard protocols for the development of local coefficients. This information will be compiled by the Network Hub and represent the first time a unified, nationally derived set of coefficients has been assembled. The use of the Network to test and collect scientifically relevant information is a model for future collaborations.
Enhancing Coastal NEMO Programs
In recognition of the fact that on-the-ground NEMO education was a tailor-made vehicle for several NOAA programs to attain their goals, in 2001-2002 four branches of NOAA collaborated on the Coastal NEMO Enhancement Grant Program. The Coastal Programs Division, National Sea Grant College Program, National Estuarine Research Reserve System and Coastal Services Center worked with the Network Hub to make available $200,000 in NOAA funding in competitive grants to coastal NEMO programs, to enhance their educational efforts.
The purpose was twofold: to stimulate intra-NOAA collaboration between the four arms of NOAA, and to give a shot in the arm to the NEMO Network. It worked. Six proposals were funded out of the 15 proposals received. The resultant projects, each involving a long list of partners, will strengthen not only the NEMO programs in these six states but the entire Network.