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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


go through page What They Are / Examples / Go On /

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navigate in the page--What They Are

Milestones*definition are significant*definition events in your process. You can measure progress by agreeing on meaningful milestones at the beginning and revisiting those definitions periodically. Good milestones center around reaching agreements or completing tasks.

Define milestones in an action plan , list them in a printed checklist, and flag them in a schedule .

The milestones listed below may take a considerable amount of time to complete, but they are an intregal part of your process. If these goals seem impossible, carefully consider the odds of getting a workable solution. You may need to put the process on hold .

Make sure that you are progressing toward a successful solution by periodically taking stock of your Action Plan and making frequent reality checks

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navigate in the page--Examples of Milestones

Keep milestones in a common sense order. It is seldom useful, for example, to put out even draft decision documents before developing broad support for a workable alternative.

It may take some ingenuity to create good milestones. However, this is creative sweat well spent--good milestones are crucial to good decisions.


Watch out for arbitrary assumptions

  • Decision points and decisionmakers are identified.
  • Key parties in the process are identified and included (decisionmakers , political and agency leaders, partners, environmental evaluation and compliance, technical analysts, stakeholders*definition , etc.).
  • Key parties have consented to participate in the process, agree that the problem must be addressed, and help it succeed. A written agreement outlines the problem and objectives.
  • A process to inform new participants and get them up to speed is in place.
  • A study schedule is agreed upon that reflects:
    • The availability of resources or scientific information and the time required to collect and analyze credible data
    • The level of social and political conflict surrounding the issues
  • Actions are taken to include whoever will implement the solution.
  • Needs and issues are identified and agreed upon so that:
    • Participants understand and consent to the definition
    • A wide variety of approaches can be used to address each need
    • The needs addressed correspond with Reclamation's mission and role
  • A broad range of alternatives that meet the needs is developed through negotiations and public input.
  • An analysis to ensure that alternatives do not have fatal flaws is completed.
  • A sound concept is developed to show how the various types of alternatives will be funded.
  • Procedures to develop and review scientific data are agreed upon. (These procedures can enhance credibility with key parties and appropriate institutions.)
  • Enough data is collected for the decisions needed at each point in the process.
  • Each decision is made, announced, and understood.
  • The solution is put in place and maintained.

navigate in the page--Go On

Mark and recognize each success along the way. As each phase is completed, publicize and celebrate . Team members and participants need closure and recognition.

GeneralKeep On Track



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