Network Hub

Network Coordination

The University of Connecticut Center for Land use Education and Research (UConn CLEAR) serves as the National NEMO Network’s coordinating “Hub.”

The Hub:

    1. Helps new programs get started;
    2. Provides trainings, Tools & Resources to help programs expand their educational arsenal;
    3. Facilitates forums (real and virtual) for network sharing and, well, networking;
    4. Serves as a liaison to federal agencies and national organizations; and
    5. Collects and reports impacts.

Network Initiatives

The NEMO Hub occasionally is able to leverage funding for network coordination with funding for specific initiatives that build the topical, technological, or financial capacity of Network members. This has included efforts focused on open space planning, forests in land use planning, adapting geospatial tools from one state to another, and other efforts. Some initiatives include:

  • LID Atlas
  • Web-based Tools
  • Open Space
  • ISAT
  • Coastal

LID Atlas

LID AtlasThe 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.

Member programs of the National NEMO Network have compiled the projects highlighted on this site and will continue to add new projects as they become available. Each project balloon contains project specifics, a summary of the project, photos (when available) and links to more information.

Contact your local NEMO program or the NEMO Hub to have your projects added to the site.

This site was a collaborative effort between the Connecticut NEMO Program, the National NEMO Network and the California Water and Land Use Partnership (WALUP).    

Go to LID Atlas

Franchising Web-based Tools

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.

Go To CRI Online

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.

More on FREMO

Planning for Open Space

Open Space Attendees

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.

Read Fact Sheet


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 Training 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.

Read Fact Sheet


Go to ISAT

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, helped strengthen not only the NEMO programs in these six states but the entire Network.

Read Fact Sheet




NEMO programs communicate with each other primarily via the Network’s listserv where programs can share new materials, ask questions or discover new resources. The listserv is restricted to NEMO network members, developing programs, and our agency and organizational partners.

In addition to the listserv, the Hub produces an annual newsletter that highlights the hijinks of various Network programs and partners, and provides updates on Networks-wide initiatives and trainings.

The Hub also has a Network Facebook page, Twitter account, and blog. (We are soo hip!)

Trainings & Conferences

A key feature of the Network, and perhaps the biggest reason for its longevity, is our biannual conference —NEMO University (NEMO U). The conference brings together NEMO programs around the country to share their resources, learn new tricks, and connect with other battle-scarred outreach educators working in the land use and stormwater trenches. As one participant put it:

For me this event continues to be a mix of therapy, tent revival, family reunion, and brain stimulation. Nowhere else can I find a group of people facing the same challenges and triumphs as I do in this unique career.” 

The most recent conference, NEMO U7, was held in Portland, Maine in 2010. The conference marked the first time that the conference was opened to other outreach and research folks interested in land use and water quality, not just Network members. The result was a broader, more lively discussion.

In addition to NEMO U, we also offer training opportunities at least every other year. Past trainings have included both technical and topical issues, including: using the Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (ISAT), GIS basics (in collaboration with the NOAA Coastal Services Center), forestry, open space planning, creating an online community resource inventory, and the Watershed Game (Northland NEMO’s award winning program).

We also have started a webinar series (archived webinars are on the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR website) that provides an in-depth introduction to new tools and resources from NEMO programs and/or our partners. We also invite Network members to participate in UConn CLEAR’s webinar series.


The Hub consists of a Network Coordinator, and a Network Communicator. The Hub also gets a boost from regular contributions and support from various members of the UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) team. Visit the Staff page for a complete staff listing, including photos, bios and contact information.

David Dickson ( is the National NEMO Network Coordinator. His role is to keep NEMO programs aware of the cool things each other are doing, help new NEMO programs get started, coordinate Network trainings and conferences, collect and report program impacts, and encourage NEMO goodwill amongst funders, BFFs and potential funders. [read more]

Kara Bonsack ( is the National NEMO Network Communicator. Her role includes maintaining the NEMO Network website, designing and producing Network publications including the National NEMO newsletter and impact reports and helps the Coordinator with conferences and training sessions. [read more]

Chet Arnold ( is the Co-founder of CT NEMO, the National NEMO Network and the Center for Land Use Education and Research. He is still very much involved in guiding and contributing to the Network, although as Associate Director of the CLEAR he's involved in all of the Center’s research, training, tool development and outreach programs. [read more]

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