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The Workflow Guide is a five-step approach to successful large landscape projects.
Step 1: Risk Assessment and Areas in Need
In this information-gathering phase, agencies and partners work together to assess the landscape in terms of risk to resources and communities and the need for active restoration. Assessment may include collection of quantitative data—for example, remote sensing technologies, fire modeling, and data on watershed condition—as well as qualitative data about the resources and ecosystem services that partners and communities value. This step helps us understand the current status of the landscape and what actions may be needed to reduce risk and enhance forest and watershed health and resilience.
Step 2: Set Priorities and Select Key Project
Given the information gathered in Step 1, what are our priorities for action? In this phase, agencies, partners, and communities work together to identify shared priorities for restoration action, and use these priorities and desired outcomes—as well as an understanding of the resources and capacity available—to help set priorities for where to focus our attention or where to start.
Step 3: Environmental Compliance Process
After working together to identify the purpose and the need for action on the landscape and involving key agencies and partners as appropriate, the environmental analysis process commences in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and all other relevant environmental laws (e.g., the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, etc.). Through this process we determine environmental impacts, develop possible alternatives, and ultimately make a decision on the action that will be taken.
Step 4: Take Action
After completing the environmental analysis and reaching a final decision, the implementation phase moves forward with work on the ground. Implementation approaches vary based on restoration need and desired outcomes, and may include multiple implementation activities to address large landscape scales. Examples of implementation activities include, but are not limited to, hazardous fuels reduction, prescribed fire, reforestation and revegetation, stream work to improve aquatic organism passage, trail maintenance, invasive species treatments, and so forth. The implementation phase is an opportunity to engage partners to promote shared ownership and expand capacity through volunteer or third-party work on treatment implementation.
Step 5: Monitoring and Adaptive Management
While monitoring is included as Step 5, developing a monitoring plan with partners and collecting baseline data on resources of interest may begin before or while implementation occurs. Creating a monitoring plan can help prioritize the key monitoring questions and determine roles for collecting and sharing data. Multi-party monitoring—involving multiple agencies, partners, and community members in data collection, analysis, and communication—takes advantage of additional skills and expertise and can support accountability and transparency. Ongoing monitoring and sharing of results can help us make improvements to implementation approaches as we move forward, and can also inform the design and implementation of future projects.