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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

Find Partners

go through page Researching / Spreading / Inviting / Go On

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navigate in the page--Researching Potential Partners

Investigate existing partnerships (research organizational directories, similar projects, etc.). Directories of existing partners, organizations, and government entities; media; universities; and Internet are just some sources of potential partners. Meet with potential partners to determine their level of interest and ask them to identify still more potential groups. Work with grant writers and funding experts in these groups to find funding sources (e.g., public and private grants, cost sharing, and cooperative agreements).

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navigate in the page--Spreading the Word

Once you have found or founded a partnership, explain the importance of inviting everyone; then ask for help to identify potential partners.

Workable solutions need local participation. Turn to experts in Reclamation (public affairs, public involvement, etc.) to identify avenues of communication. Get articles in local papers and contact local groups to find participants who know the particular area and can help identify who should/could be involved. Legislative representatives from that district may also help. Places to find out about partnerships include:

  • Reclamation Ecosystem Partnership Coordinator
  • National partnership council
  • International organizations
  • Department of Local Affairs, State Planning Coordination
  • Environmental groups
  • Water districts
  • Agricultural, mining, and commercial groups
  • Neighborhood groups
  • Consultants
  • Partnership guides

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navigate in the page--Inviting Participation

Getting the commitments needed for money, resources, staff, and data (both internally and externally) may be difficult. Decisionmakers and others have to understand the issues and their importance before sharing resources. Ways to involve people include:

Expanded assumptions.
Talk to participants as equals. Don't assume that their assumptions are set in stone or even that they have a set of assumptions about the activity. Groups you see as adversaries may be potential partners.
Common ground.
Find something that potential participants can all agree on. This will focus the study, give people something concrete to work on, think about, and get excited about solving.
Worth the risk.
People risk personal or organizational credibility if the process fails. Understand these risks, paint a realistic picture, and explain why you think it is still worth their risk.
Bring them out to see the problem first hand. Working a site or officevisit into their travel schedule provides a concrete idea of what you are trying to do.
Find their values*definitionand motivate through talking informally and looking at their other activities. Either demonstrate how your solution fits within their agenda or look elsewhere for commitments.
Get them personally involved. If you send something up to them, it's just another idea. If they develop the idea, they have ownership in it. Have them make suggestions on what to do about the problem and act on those suggestions.
Other pressures.
Look at the potential partners' other pressures and priorities to understand their positions. These could include pressure from strong State water resource agencies, public outcries, and lobbying efforts from organizations and groups. Developing an ongoing rapport with these organizations will help you coordinate efforts to work within those pressures.

Once participants agree that action would be a good idea, meet with everyone (either individually or all at once depending on the scope and complexity of the action). Clearly lay out what you will do and ask what they will do. (If they won't commit to an action, try for a letter of principle saying that they support your effort, that your agenda is consistent with their agenda.) Make sure, however, that there is a reason for partners to be involved. Forcing groups to work together when it will not help solve the problem will merely destroy the process.

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navigate in the page--Go On


NextWorking With Partnerships

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