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This information is intended to convey the underlying concepts for Reclamation's decision processes. It is not mandatory.
See the Reclamation Manual for official Reclamation-wide requirements.

Reclamation's Decision Process Guide

Before Funding

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Go On

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navigate in the page--Why?

Reclamation needs to anticipate and address problems as (if not before) they emerge. In this way, we can solve problems before they become so entrenched that people become polarized and actions can't be taken. The more extreme the problem, the easier it is to get locked into extreme positions.

What may appear to be common sense, even the meaning of the terms can often later lead to misunderstandings unless they are clarified at the beginning of the process.

Problems*definition don't exist in a vacuum but occupy a problemshed*definition -- so solving one problem is a little worse than useless if other problems sabotage that solution. A holistic, coordinated approach is often necessary to ensure that all solutions work together to effectively meet interrelated needs. The problemshed's context of related actions, influences, and concerns provides the background against which the problem will be analyzed and in which the solution will operate.

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navigate in the page--Who

Funding for preliminary scoping is available from several general funding authorities, depending on the program.

Preventative checkups are cheaper than emergency care and involve less risk.

Who should identify problems and get studies started? Each person in every level and discipline has an opportunity to identify problems and opportunities where Reclamation can make a difference. Successful decisionmaking will provide a forum for expressing these unique perspectives. Funding for early problem identification and scoping of potential investigations is usually available in general administrative accounts. In the General Investigations budgets, for example, these activities are funded by the Environmental and Interagency Coordination Activities (EICA)*definition or General Planning studies

Leaders identify and prioritize problems that fulfill Reclamation's mission so that funds can be allocated to solve them. Also, they decide how to work on problems (either within a partnership, as a cooperating agency, or as a lead agency). They follow up on problems that don't fit Reclamation's role by referring these problems to others.

This followup helps maintain relationships, trust, and credibility with process participants, organizations, and other agencies.

Technical professionals are generally in the best position to identify and address problems within the context of the current situation. If you are dealing with a problem, you might look for related problems and issues. When related needs are addressed, solutions will be supported, the team will gain credibility, and other groups will be more willing to work with the team. Following up on these related needs will help ensure that the existing processes and solutions continue to function.

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navigate in the page--How

Identifying the problem and determining Reclamation's role does not necessarily entail actively addressing the problem. We see if a problem is significant and within our role. Then we choose to address or ignore it. Ignoring the problem avoids the immediate cost of problem resolution but may create more problems and incur more costs later on. Addressing the problem entails the courage to implement the alternative finally selected. Without that courage, we should not begin the study.

Daily talk to people "in the know" about problems you've identified.

The flow chart below shows a checklist of the go/no go*definition decision points of getting started.

go no go decision points

Go through these linked steps to ensure everything is in place:

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navigate in the page--Go On

Executive Summary Tour Take this car on a fast tour Hurdles Chart <------> Before Starting

Process Tour spiralling forwardWhy bother? <------> Before Starting



PreviousReading Helps

NextBefore Starting

Please contact Deena Larsen 303-445-2584 with questions or comments on this material.