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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

Guide to Developing a Budget

go through page Needed Work / Realistic Measures / Political Realities / Low Cost Options / Budget Tools / Go On


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navigate in the page--Base Budget*definition on Needed Work

Start with your definition of the problem and brainstorm with the people who will do the work. Consider what tasks are involved. Look at the actual and proposed budgets for some similar processes. While your process will be unique, you can use this information to create a rule of thumb. Check your estimates with decisionmakers and professional experts who have worked on similar estimates.

Consider how much staff time (technical, coordination, and support), money, and equipment (computers, sensors, etc.) will be required. What specfic actions will you have to take? What will they cost?


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navigate in the page--Use Realistic Measures

There will always be more data and questions to research and solve. Figure out what information you can address and what you really need to solve the problem. What resources (including staff) are available to complete the tasks? Consider the interrelated aspects of the tasks (e.g., need to know the stream flows and water supplies before designing options for habitats or dams.)


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navigate in the page--Consider Political Realities

The budget structure does not shape decisionmaking--decisionmaking shapes the budget.

Budget plans must be in sync with political realities. Find out what kinds of actions are doable in the current political and funding climate. Future bills in the Federal, State, and local legislatures may shed light on this or similar processes. Show how your process would interact with other efforts to solve problems in the same general location which may be funded already. External interests and participants may lobby legislatures for funds.


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navigate in the page--Find Low-Cost Options

Many government agencies, private organizations, and universities may already have the data you need. Universities may provide credit for a student to do the study. Internet news groups and data bases are a powerful source of data. Other participants such as state agencies can get information more easily (e.g. creel census of fish and habitat data). Getting existing data can be a way to involve everyone.


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navigate in the page--Use Budget Tools

Budgets are intuitive (but practical) guesses that come out of the air based on professional judgment*definition.

Forecasting tools, budget computer software programs, and research are useful estimating a budget. People already involved in the problem are your most important tools. Their ideas on the extent of the problem, the necessary research, and potential solutions will help clarify what needs to be done and how many resources will be needed to do it. Also, they will be able to identify others who may be involved and who may contribute to the effort a vital piece of the estimating puzzle.


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navigate in the page--Go On

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(How people deal with budgets.)

Handyman's Tourcompass for handyman's tourScoping <------> Schedule

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GeneralKeep on Track

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