Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO)
NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) was created in the early 1990’s to provide information, education and assistance to local land use boards and commissions on how they can accommodate growth while protecting their natural resources and community character. The program was built upon the basic belief that the future of our communities and environment depend on land use, and, since land use is decided primarily at the local level, education of local land use officials is the most effective, and most cost-effective, way to bring about positive change.
NEMO was unique and innovative in several ways: in its use of geographic information system and remote sensing technology as educational tools; in its promotion of land use planning rather than mechanical devices as the primary weapon against water pollution, and; in its steadfast focus on local land use decision makers as the primary target audience. More than a decade later, these concepts are not nearly so radical, and communities across the state are changing the way they plan, regulate and build their landscapes—assisted by the information and education of the NEMO Program.
- Natural Resource Protection is the Goal: (Even we feel that no further elaboration is needed on this point.)
- Land Use is the Issue: We believe that better land use decisions are the key to protecting the natural resources, community character, and long-term economic health of our communities.
- Local Officials are the Target Audience: Because land use is the issue, the people making land use decisions are our key target audience. In the United States, this means local officials serving on land use boards at the county and municipal levels. (Quick - name 5 groups or organizations devoted to assisting these critical decision makers! Can’t do it, can you? Chalk up yet another good reason for NEMO…)
- Education is the Method: Given that the local land use decision making process is complex, political, and widely varying, state and federal regulation can only go so far in dictating better land use policies and practices. We believe that education—particularly research-based, non-advocacy professional outreach education—is the best way to foster better land use decisions.