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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

Public Involvement


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navigate in the page--What It Is

Scoping provides a base map, and public involvement puts the roads on it.

Public involvement*definition means public participation in the decision process. It centers around effective two-way communication among the partners, agencies, organizations, and all the various stakeholders*definition and interested publics. Enough information is provided so that all parties can reach informed conclusions and implement positive solutions. Because public involvement means inviting publics to be involved in the solution, it differs from public relations, information, or education.

Based on your action plan and and the basic components listed below, develop a public involvement plan*definition to help get a handle on the real needs, their importance, and priority.

Perspective identification.
Concerns or issues and the values placed upon them may vary considerably. Public involvement provides a mechanism for understanding different points of view. Understanding the range of issues will help the team identify those which can be included in the focus of the study and, equally important, explain why others can't be considered.
Affected publics.
Affected publics are those people and organizations who believe they might be impacted*definition by a decision. The size and composition of the public will be different for each decision and will increase with controversy. There are a number of ways people may see themselves affected or impacted, including: proximity, economics, use, and value.*definition
Level of awareness.
The decision process will provoke different levels of awareness and interest with diverse publics . It is essential to understand the level of interest to effectively involve the right publics at the right time.
Conflict resolution.
A public involvement program will identify potential cooperating and opposing publics by looking at issues. Conflicting issues will become apparent. The public involvement plan should provide the means to identify common ground where adversarial groups can work together to resolve as many conflicts as possible. The team must develop strong supportable bases for any decision made in a conflict arena.
Internal communication.

All of your efforts to make elaborate plans to communicate with and involve those outside Reclamation will do little good if you can't communicate and involve those within! Don't assume anything. Make sure all team members, management, and any other Reclamation employees associated with your study knows what's going on. Tell them what's going to happen. Tell them how and when you're going to do it and what you expect to accomplish by doing it. Do it! Report the results--if things change, tell them.

For further information on public involvement in Reclamation, see:
  • the Reclamation Manual policy and directives on public involvement
  • the Technical Service Center's discretionary guidance on public involvement
  • Mid Pacific Region's PI Zone

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Helpful Hints Tourwizbang help herePartnerships <----> Facilitators

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