The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) Program was created in 1991 at the University of Connecticut, as a collaboration of the Cooperative Extension System, the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program and the Natural Resources Management and Engineering Department. NEMO was created in recognition of the relative lack of education and assistance available for community land use decision makers. Local land use decisions are a key determinant of the social, economic and environmental health of our communities, yet our local decision makers are volunteers with little or no training in land planning or natural resource protection.
The original NEMO pilot project was an outgrowth of the Long Island Sound Study National Estuary Program. With a grant from USDA, UConn staff developed a presentation that used remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) technologies to inform local land use decision makers about the links between land use and water quality. The original project focused on three pilot communities along Connecticut’s coast, but within a few years, NEMO had evolved into a program responding to requests from communities across the state.