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Glossary of technical terms
    that appear in the LaMPs

Acronyms | Words and definitions

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National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)

Standards that EPA sets under the Clean Air Act to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety (primary standards) and to protect the environment (secondary standards). These standards apply to sources that emit pollutants into the atmosphere. Also see "Clean Air Act."

National Biological Service (NBS)

A federal bureau within the U.S.Department of the Interior. The mission of the NBS is to provide, with others, the scientific understanding and technologies needed to manage the nationís biological resources.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

A federal law passed in 1990 that promotes efforts to prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulates the health and welfare of people. It established a Council on Environmental Quality. It is comprised of two Titles:
Title I - Declaration of National Environmental Policy;
Title II -Council on Environmental Quality.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

A federal agency, NOAAís mandate is to conserve and manage wisely the nationís coastal and marine resources, and describe and predict changes in the earthís environment to ensure sustainable economic opportunities. NOAA administers the National Sea Grant College Program, National Underseas Research Program, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Coastal Resources Research and Development Institute, National Weather Service, and others.

National Park Service (NPS)

An agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior that manages the national park system. Active participant in the Binational Program.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Federal regulations that constitute the national program for issuing, modifying, revoking, re-issuing, terminating, monitoring and enforcing permits, and enforcing pretreatment requirements for point source discharges to surface waters under the Clean Water Act, Section 402.

National Priorities List (NPL)

A list of inactive, hazardous waste sites designated under Superfund as needing long-term remedial actions. Currently, there are about 1,200 sites on the NPL.

National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP)

A nation-wide partnership with public and private sectors combining research, education, and technology transfer for public service. A national network of universities meeting changing environmental and economic needs of people, industry, and government in coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes states. The program is administered by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA)

The NAWQA is designed to describe the status and trends in the quality of the nationís water and to provide an understanding of the natural and human factors that affect the quality of these resources. It has national summaries of pesticides, nutrients, volatile organic chemicals, trace elements, surface water quality modeling, and finding on nutrients and pesticides.

National Wetlands Inventory (NWI)

This U.S. EPA program is classifying and mapping all wetlands in the U.S. from aerial photographs. The information is being entered into three database systems that will comprise the NWI Geographic Information System and will allow computer access to the data. The NWI also prepares wetland trend studies and special reports to Congress.

Nationwide Permit (NWP)

A type of general permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers allowing certain activities to take place in the waters of the U.S. If certain conditions are met, the specified activities can take place without the need for an individual or regional permit.

Natural land

Undisturbed, naturally occurring landscapes and habitat.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

A federal agency within the United States Department of Agriculture that provides technical assistance to land users in cooperation with other federal, state, and local agencies in carrying out a variety of natural resources-related programs designed to promote protection and wise use of these resources on private lands. Formerly the Soil Conservation Service.

Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI)

A University of Minnesota research institute established in 1983 by the Minnesota legislature to foster economic development of Minnesota's natural resources in an environmentally-sound manner and promote private sector employment. See also "Center for Water and the Environment" and "University of Minnesota."

Naturalized Species

An intentionally or unintentionally introduced species that has adapted to and reproduces successfully in its new environment. Some Great Lakes examples include the rainbow smelt, the alewife, and some salmon and trout species.

Navigable Waters

Navigable waters of the United States are waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or used to transport interstate or foreign commerce. Once the determination of navigability is made, it applies over the entire surface of the water body, and is not changed by later actions or events which impede or destroy navigable capacity. Also referred to as waters of the U.S.


A substance that is known or suspected to be poisonous to nerve tissue and/or otherwise impact the nervous system.

Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)

Pollutants that can be a component of smog and also can contribute to acid rain. One of the criteria pollutants regulated by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Sources include automobiles and industrial point sources.

Nitrogen to phosphorus ratio

Nitrogen and phosphorus are both nutrients. The ratio that exists between the two can affect the composition or community of algal species in the water column.

No Net Loss

A federal policy to achieve no overall net loss of the nationís remaining wetlands base as defined by acreage and function and to restore and create wetlands where feasible, to increase the quality and quantity of the nationís wetland resource base.

No Observable Effect Concentration (NOEC)

For toxic substances, it is the highest tested concentration at which no adverse effects are observed in an aquatic organism at a specific time of observation.

Non-Chemical Stressors

Physical and biological factors that can impact water quality or ecosystem health. Examples include heat, sediment, and non-indigenous species.

Non-Indigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990

A federal law to prevent the unintentional introduction and dispersal of non-indigenous species into the waters of the U.S. The act mandates the establishment of: a national ballast water control program; the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force; initial research funding; technical assistance and education for federal and state agencies; state management plans; and grant programs to prevent, monitor, and control the spread of zebra mussels and other exotic species. It also provides for the establishment of regulations that control the introduction of and dispersal of these organisms. See also "Aquatic nuisance species."

Non-indigenous species

Species that are not native to an area. They could be exotics that originate in a foreign country, or tranplants into a region to which they are not native, but is still within their country of origin. Those species found beyond their natural ranges or natural zone of potential dispersal. Also referred to as exotic species.See also "Aquatic nuisance species."

Nonpoint source pollution (NPS)

An indirect discharge, not from a pipe or other specific source. Pollution for which the sources cannot be traced to a single point such as a municipal or industrial wastewater treatment plant discharge pipe. Nonpoint sources include eroding farmland and construction sites, urban streets, and barnyards. Pollutants from these sources reach waterbodies in runoff, which can best be controlled by proper land management.

North Shore Management Board (NSMB)

A Minnesota joint powers board that represents local governments in decisions about coastline management on Minnesotaís north shore. The board implements the North Shore Management Plan.

North Shore Management Plan (NSMP)

A Minnesota plan for the environmental protection and orderly growth of the north shore of Lake Superior developed by the residents of the area. Consists of several planning elements, each dealing with an area needing special attention, such as shoreland management, harbors of refuge, transportation, recreation, tourism, and economic development.

Northeast Minnesota Waste Exchange (NMWE)

A local program administered by the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District, this organization recycles household waste such as paint. Its primary effort is aimed at getting businesses that have unwanted products in touch with potential users of those products.

Northeastern Minnesota Environmental and Economic Council (NEMEEC)

An organization of northeastern Minnesota citizens formed in the 1970's in response to the potential for Minnesotaís enrollment in the federal Coastal Zone Management Program. NEMEECís approach is to ensure that CZM does not ignore or hamper economic development.


Elements or compounds essential as raw materials for organism growth and development, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Nutrients are identified as pollutants of interest in the LaMPs.

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