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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

Determine Reclamation's Role

Purpose / Why / How / Go/No Go / Go On


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navigate in the page--Purpose

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(Know when to stay out


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navigate in the page--Why?

Reclamation's role may be as a facilitiator.

Determining Reclamation's role in a proposal is the first step to ensure a good return on our investment. Figure out who is best equipped to handle the job to reduce wasted efforts and find more efficient solutions.

Proposals only go forward if enough people want them to. Sharing the investment promotes a more effective process. Participants who invest in the process with information, time, resources, and funding are less likely to stop the process and more likely to negotiate so that a solution can be reached. For example, a group promoting ducks might be interested in providing duck habitat. Approach those most likely to oppose your project with possible cooperative ventures in areas they care about. This may gain their support early on or at least open some communication lines. The more potential partners and cost sharers, the more chances of being funded.


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navigate in the page--How?

The Federal role is defined as the set of activities that we are best suited to carry out or that are in the interests of the Nation as a whole under a Federal agency's authority

Determining Appropriateness

Work with others to identify places where we can contribute.

Reclamation's involvement is justified when real needs fall within the scope of our mission and authority. Go beyond the surface concerns to uncover the real reasons why we would be involved. Communicate with groups with similar roles to find partners or someone who would be more appropriate to handle it.

Draft Agreements

Getting many perspectives now will cut down on chances of missing something later.

Identify potential partners and get them involved.

Start a list for future use.

Set up a draft agreement, contingent on funding (both Federal and non-Federal). This may range from a formal agreement among many parties to an informal one between two groups. Make sure everyone understands the implications of these agreements. Allow room for the inevitable changes and communicate those changes quickly. At least cover purpose, roles, time and resources needed, timeframes, responsibility, and approaches to cost sharing.

This draft agreement can later form the backbone of the action plan.


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navigate in the page--Go/No Go*definition

It may not be Reclamation's role, but it is someone's role. (There's only so much nobody can do.)

Other participants cannot determine our role. If you determine Reclamation has a role or if the role is mandated by the Congress or the Administration (e.g., safety of dams, authorizing legislation), stay at the table and explain why it would be irresponsible to leave. Conversely, if the role is optional (others can solve the problem and we are not mandated to do so), bow out of the process.

If you determine that the problem does not fit Reclamation's role, don't just walk away. Find out who can deal with it and follow through to ensure that the problem is being addressed. People who brought the problem forward are then more likely to work with you in the future.

If you cannot find anyone willing to think about participating, rethink the problem. Have you defined it well? Is it that significant ? Could someone else handle it more effectively? If you can't get another entity interested in cost sharing, then the action may not be necessary or may lack the necessary support.


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navigate in the page--Go On

GeneralBefore Funding

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