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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 Defining / Determining / Go On

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navigate in the page--Defining Our Role

To assume that Reclamation's participation should be to maintain the lead on every effort is arrogant, unfounded, and counterproductive. To help effectively solve problems, we must work with other governmental and nongovernmental entitities.

The point is to solve the problem--not whether we are the solo stars or a voice in the chorus.

Reclamation provides a service to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. This role encompasses a great many technical activities (e.g., ensuring that dams are safe, exploring new technologies for groundwater recharge) and many ways of doing business (e.g., working formally and informally with partners, other agencies, and water users). See Reclamation's home page and mission.

This mission is the foundation that determines Reclamation's potential roles , such as:

  • Partners working with other stakeholders*definition to solve complex, interconnected problems
  • Participants bringing something to the table to help define and resolve problems
  • Facilitators promoting both formal and informal communication among diverse participants
  • Leaders with a broad perspective
  • Technical experts providing needed expertise
  • Compliance experts, ensuring actions adhere to Federal regulations

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navigate in the page--Determining Our Role

Accepting and fulfilling roles are up to the group or individual . If a role is not fulfilled by one person, another person may take that role.

Reclamation provides both broad expertise to work with the larger picture of ecosystems and watersheds and a focused expertise to work on specific tasks. Divide labor effectively.

There may not be a Federal role. Ask the following questions to determine our responsibility and develop thresholds *definition to determine the significance of your role and involvement.

  • Is there a significant problem to be solved or opportunity to prevent problems
  • Is it a matter of national, regional, and local interest?
  • Does it relate to managing water and related resources?
  • Is it tied to something we've done in the past?
  • Is there a need for Federal/Reclamation involvement?
  • Can this be handled on a local level effectively and completely without Federal funding and involvement?
  • Do they require our expertise? Is there a Federal benefit to provide this expertise?
  • Are we able to offer technical assistance and expertise?

These clues by themselves do not mandate a Federal role, but they may indicate the need for participation. Federal involvement can range from support, facilitation, and technical help to taking the lead on a project. This role must be considered on a case-by-case basis. You will need to be flexible enough to change your involvement as policy changes and you know more about the issues.

Reclamation involvement means using national funds and other national resources (including federally paid employees) to contribute to the economic and environmental health of the United States. Reclamation's expertise should be responsive to local, state, and Native American concerns, but our primary purpose must never be forgotten. If we determine that there is no Federal role, we need to bow out of the process.

Writing out your role in a particular program will:

  • Help define your reason for being involved,
  • Focus on what the program is to accomplish
  • Clarify your role with the decisionmakers and other participants
  • Avoid false assumptions and mythconceptions about your role
  • Keep new players informed

The briefer and more concise, the better. Be willing to revise this if the situation changes.

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navigate in the page--Go On

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(What we're here for...)

Executive Summary Tour Take this car on a fast tour ------>Defining Success

Handyman's Tourcompass for handyman's tour Documentation <----->Responsibility

Dragon Tour wide-eyed dragon on the loose Budget Process -------> Policy

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GeneralHip Pocket Concepts


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