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Water: Outreach & Communication

NPSINFO e-Forum Resource Center

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On this page you will find handy information on NPSINFO, EPA's electronic mailing list for discussing nonpoint source pollution (NPS) control issues. NPS pollution is the nation's largest remaining water quality problem—and a community of more than 2,300 individuals from federal, state, and local government and numerous public and private organizations uses NPSINFO to share information on how to address this problem.


Purpose and Welcome Message

NPSINFO is a public forum for open discussion of runoff pollution issues, including unregulated nonpoint source (NPS) pollution and regulated stormwater. It is sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW) and administered by OWOW's Nonpoint Source Control Branch.

This list welcomes participants from across public and private sectors, including government agencies, non-profits and other organizations, researchers, educators, local water managers, industry, the agricultural community, and concerned individuals. The range of topics that are appropriate for discussing on NPSINFO include:

  • agricultural runoff
  • urban runoff
  • watershed planning, management, and restoration
  • hydrologic modification
  • aquatic habitat modification
  • NPS pollution prevention
  • NPS/stormwater education and outreach
  • funding for NPS/stormwater control
  • technology options for controlling NPS pollution
Your experience and input are valuable to others, and we encourage you to share it on NPSINFO.

All of the following types of posts are welcome in NPSINFO, provided they are directly related to managing NPS pollution or regulated stormwater runoff:

  • questions, answers, and informed opinions
  • announcements
  • short abstracts
  • conference notices.

News articles and job postings that are directly related to NPS/stormwater runoff issues may be posted to NPSINFO, as well. The preferred format for articles and job postings is to provide a short announcement with a Web link for more information.

The goal of NPSINFO is to exchange information about nonpoint source pollution control and stormwater management. Therefore, this list is open to any and all discussion on the wide range of NPS topics, but subscribers who stray too far off the subject will be asked to continue their discussion elsewhere. In order to make the best use of subscribers' space and time, please hold personal discussions via private e-mail. While spirited exchange is great, no flames will be tolerated.

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Consequences for Misusing NPSINFO

Because of the instantaneous nature of electronic lists, EPA cannot be responsible for the content of messages that appear on this list. Inappropriate or unprofessional postings will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Penalties can range from warnings to outright bans (removal of offending subscriber from member rolls and automated rejection of subsequent requests to rejoin the list).

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Constraints on Commercial Use of NPSINFO

Commercial advertising is not allowed in general; however, if a product or service is directly and primarily relevant to the nonpoint source or stormwater management community, a short announcement with reference or link to more information elsewhere is acceptable. The linking page must be limited to a description of the particular product or service featured in the announcement; it is not to be a general marketing page for other products and services. Short announcements for educational webinars and webcasts that are directly and primarily relevant to the nonpoint source or stormwater management community may be posted to the list. However, announcements for presentations that are intended to promote proprietary products or services are not allowed.

If you are a vendor, consultant, or are otherwise selling a product or service, do not use contact information obtained from postings to this list to call or pay a visit on your fellow subscribers without first obtaining their permission by way of a brief e-mail request sent off-list. Subscribers to NPSINFO have an expectation that queries or information posted to an EPA list such as NPSINFO will not subject them to unwanted attention from commercial interests. Do not use this list to "mine" names or other contact information from people who post to this list. EPA will investigate complaints from subscribers who report being subjected to violations of this policy. Complaints should be sent to npsinfo-owner@lists.epa.gov.

Those who violate this policy will be banned from this list. EPA further reserves the right to remove all subscribers affiliated with businesses that fail to control employees engaged in these practices.

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A Word about Security

NPSINFO is a Lyris ListManager electronic mailing list, hosted on a server and supported by the US EPA. We are guests on this server and should behave as such. Please behave in an ethical and trustworthy manner, meaning:

  • Do not attempt to access, change or delete data unless you are authorized to do so.
  • Do not allow others to use your membership privileges.
  • Notify the list owners (npsinfo-owner@lists.epa.gov) if you suspect or detect a security incident on the list.
  • Follow the rules of conduct as specified by the list owners.
  • EPA's Office of Technology Operations and Planning recommends that you password-protect your subscription. If you utilize passwords, change the password every 90 days. Use at least 8 characters in the password in an alpha and numeric mix. Passwords should be memorized and not written down. Failure to follow these rules may result in penalties, such as removal from the list and loss of privileges.

Attachments Not Allowed

To greatly minimize the risk of spreading viruses or other malicious software, NPSINFO does not accept attachments. This is an EPA-wide policy for all of its electronic lists. Please do not attempt to send attachments to the list. Attachments sent to the list will be automatically stripped, but will often generate extremely long strings of gibberish at the end of your message. Messages posted to NPSINFO may specify arrangements for sharing files off-list (e.g., offering to send files privately upon request or providing l inks to FTP sites or Web sites where files may be downloaded).

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Joining NPSINFO

There are two simple ways to join NPSINFO; both work equally well. Both methods will generate a "Request to Join" this list. Membership is not automatic; all requests must be approved by an authorized list administrator. Please use your actual name when subscribing (first and last names; a nickname is fine if this is how you are commonly known). Subscription requests that lack valid names will be rejected. You will receive a confirmation message on the acceptance or rejection of your request. Confirmed subscribers will also receive an automated welcome message that includes important information about their subscription.

  1. Send an e-mail message to lyris@lists.epa.gov and include in the subject line or the body of the message:
    subscribe NPSINFO [your first name] [your last name]
    Note: Replace [your first name] [your last name] with your first and last names.

    or

  2. Go to the subscribe page, fill in the form, and click the "subscribe" button.

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Leaving NPSINFO

To unsubscribe, do one of the following:

  1. Follow the simple instructions at the footer appended to every posted message.

  2. Send a blank message to:
    npsinfo-unsubscribe@lists.epa.gov

  3. Use the listserver's web interface to unsubscribe. Log in by entering your subscribed e-mail address (and password, if you have one). Then, select the "My Forums" tab and click on the "unsubscribe" link to the right of the list name.

Contributing Messages to NPSINFO

To post a message to the list, send it to npsinfo@lists.epa.gov
Only subscribers can post messages.

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Sample Queries and Responses Posted to NPSINFO

A list of sample queries and responses to the NPSINFO listserve has been complied. They are representative of the style of discussion on this electronic mailing list.

For example:

Does anyone have ordinance language on how municipalities are funding the purchase of open space?

RESPONSE A: Here is something from Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Open Space Plan Exit EPA Disclaimer

RESPONSE B: Washtenaw County (SE Michigan) and Ann Arbor (in Washtenaw County) have passed millages for purchase of open space (outright and PDRs-purchase of development rights) and farmland. Try eWashtenaw Exit EPA Disclaimer and City of Ann Arbor Exit EPA Disclaimer

RESPONSE C: Pennsylvania developed a series of guidance documents that may be helpful in establishing boilerplate language:

See the full list of sample queries and responses.

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Managing Your Subscription

It is every individual's job to manage his or her own subscription to NPSINFO. Do not expect the list owners to manage changes to your e-mail address or other subscription changes for you. With more than 1500 subscribers to NPSINFO (as of June 2005) and growing, list administrators will no longer routinely perform subscription maintenance tasks upon request.

There are two ways to manage your subscription. As both work equally well, selecting which method to use is a matter of personal preference.

  1. You may use EPA's Web interface for managing all of its lists. Log in by entering your subscribed e-mail address (and password, if you have one). Then, select the "My Account" tab to change your membership settings. There is a link to a Users Guide to help you understand the subscription management options. You can visit this Web interface at any time to change your subscription e-mail address or name, add or change your password, read and send mail, read and search archives, or change your membership settings.

  2. You may send list commands directly through your e-mail software from the e-mail address associated with your subscription. Below is a list of the most commonly used commands. In all cases, the default server address is lyris@lists.epa.gov. The commands may be placed in either the subject line or in the body of the message and should not include any other information. Documentation for all Lyris list commands is available. Exit EPA Disclaimer

To receive the list in Daily Digest mode (i.e., the previous day's worth of postings compiled in a single e-mail available after midnight Eastern Time):
set npsinfo digest
Warning: postings to NPSINFO sent with formatted text appear as garbled text in digest mode. This problem may be avoided by setting your preferences to MimeDigest mode (Receive daily digest with all the messages of the day in MIME format) by sending the message:
set npsinfo mimedigest
However, this setting only works with certain e-mail client software, such as Microsoft Outlook. (MIME is an acronym for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions.)

To temporarily suspend mail from NPSINFO (useful for extended out-of-office periods):
set npsinfo nomail

To resume mail following a change to "nomail" setting (e.g., when returning to the office):
set npsinfo mail (to receive mail in normal mode)
set npsinfo digest (to receive mail in digest mode)
set npsinfo mimedigest (to receive mail in MIME digest mode)

To receive acknowledgments of your own posts (sends you a confirmation message when your posts are distributed):
set npsinfo ack

To stop receiving acknowledgments of your own posts:
set npsinfo noack

To receive copies of your own posts:
set npsinfo repro

To stop receiving copies of your own posts:
set npsinfo norepro

To set your password:
set npsinfo pw=mypassword (where "mypassword" is the password you wish to set)

To determine membership settings:
query npsinfo

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Accessing Archived Messages

All messages posted to NPSINFO are archived and fully retrievable. These archives are interactive and are sortable by subject line, date, or author. There are 2 ways to tap into this archive.

The first way into the archives is to copy this URL into your browser:
https://lists.epa.gov/read/?forum=npsinfo&max=50&orderby=CreatStamp_+DESC
You will have to log in with your e-mail address (and password, if applicable). This allows you to view the last 50 messages. If you want to go back further, you may either click on the "show more" button at the bottom of this page or change "max=50" to a larger number in the URL noted above.

The second way is to log in to the Web interface and select "npsinfo" from the list (using the "show more" button). You will have to log in with your e-mail address (and password, if applicable). From the "Home" tab, see "Read messages" under the "Shortcuts" section on the right side. (You may be prompted to log in again.) Then you can see the list of archived messages in reverse chronological order. Use the "show more" button to see a list of older messages.

For either way into the archives, you can see how many replies each new subject received. Clicking on this number allows you to see a list of these replies.

To read any of these messages, simply select the subject line of the message (either an original posting or a reply) that you are interested in.

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Rules of Conduct and Guidelines for Posting to NPSINFO

(Thanks to Dr. William James, Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, for providing the original list from which this is based.)

  1. Review your messages before posting them. Keep them professional and polite. Remember: "THINK" before "SEND."
  2. Include meaningful subject headers. Digest-mode subscribers need to be especially vigilant since the original subject lines in digest mode are buried within a compiled message that uses a generic header.
  3. Identify yourself and your affiliation. Consider providing additional contact information, as well. Do not post anonymously.
  4. While the expression of opposing views is a hallmark of useful discussion, never use the list to send negative messages. Messages should conform to professional standards and ethics. Personal attacks, sweeping generalizations, conspiracy theories, and unsubstantiated accusations or claims are some of the things that have no place on NPSINFO.
  5. All posted messages must be directly related to the primary purpose of the list. The purpose for NPSINFO is to facilitate discussion of nonpoint source/stormwater runoff pollution issues. Don't post personal or political messages to the list. If you are uncertain about whether or not a message is appropriate for NPSINFO, contact the list owner (via npsinfo-owner@lists.epa.gov) first.
  6. Messages should be succinct. If the primary information resides on the Web, the message should be limited to a brief introduction or overview with a link to the Web page.
  7. Each posted message should be limited to a single topic.
  8. As a courtesy to your fellow subscribers, don't echo back long message strings. Make the effort to delete extraneous portions of ongoing topic threads.
  9. Never send a message when you are angry or upset. Don't react to a flame or provocative message sent to the list by sending one of your own back to the list. If you feel that a message posted to NPSINFO is inappropriate, you may let EPA's list owners know by sending a message to npsinfo-owner@lists.epa.gov.
  10. If your message has inadvertently offended other subscribers, post a brief apology for the unintended impact of that message along with any clarifying remarks.
  11. Be patient with inexperienced list users and novices to topics discussed on NPSINFO.
  12. Give senders the benefit of the doubt.
  13. Reply directly to the sender rather than the list, unless you perceive your reply to be of general interest. Don't send "Amen" messages, or other single-sentence messages that don't contribute anything useful, to the list.
Failure to comply with these rules of conduct may result in penalties ranging from warnings to being banned from the list.

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Questions or Problems?

If you have any questions about, or problems with, NPSINFO, please do not post them to the list; instead, please send an e-mail to the list administrator at npsinfo-owner@lists.epa.gov. Documentation for all Lyris list commands is availableExit EPA Disclaimer

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