Planning & Funding

Planning

Step 1: Before you begin an AIM project, be sure to coordinate with your AIM state lead to discuss monitoring priorities and budget possibilities.

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  • Field, District, and State Offices will work together and with the Washington Office to identify funding for monitoring efforts throughout the duration of the iterative AIM process.
  • Consider the timeline (Figure 1.) for which you will need to begin implementing your AIM project and work with your AIM state lead to establish check points for your project.
  • Capacity for completing monitoring work is often gained through seasonal employees and sometimes through partnerships with other organizations, such as those that engage youth.  Other capacity needs (e.g., project management) are often met through field, district, and state offices with support from NOC. 
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Figure 1. AIM yearly implementation timeline

Step 2: Begin forming your ID team

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  • In order to gain the most information from your AIM project it is imperative to collaborate with other resource specialists to begin planning workload, funding and monitoring goals and objectives.
  • Consider that monitoring efforts from one land use or treatment can provide valuable information across all specialties.
  • A fundamental tenet for AIM-Monitoring is that information can be collected once and used many times for many purposes across many programs (e.g., recreation, grazing, energy, wildlife, and wild horse and burro management). Further, these data can be easily compared and combined to simultaneously address a wide range of local, regional, and national management needs. 

 

Step 3: Define Roles and Responsibilities 

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  • AIM-Monitoring follows a structured implementation framework.  Each effort begins by collecting background information, including what is known about the ecosystem, critical management questions, and regulatory requirements.
  • Consider contacting someone at the NOC to discuss roles and responsibilities (Figure 2) and any questions that you might have at this point.
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    Figure 2. Roles and Responsibilities

Funding

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BLM has requested funding to implement both the AIM Strategy and GRSG monitoring.  While we await information and appropriations for that funding, other resources are worth considering.

General Advice

Keep an eye out for one-time funding opportunities like the ones listed below. One-time funding can be valuable for initiating monitoring.

  • Communicating the benefits of the monitoring program is key to sustaining it. Showcase what you are doing and how you are using the results to inform land management.  The AIM Team is available to help you communicate through presentations, the SharePoint site, BLM Dailies, etc.
  • Talk to other programs in your Field, District, or State Office. AIM Core Indicators can address many management questions, and one monitoring effort may meet many different needs.
  • Engage other agencies as well. For example, EPA, US Forest Service, and Fish and Game departments are actively involved in AIM efforts and may be able to assist with funding in some cases.
  • Consider potential trade-offs when deciding whether to conduct AIM monitoring in-house vs. through external parties (e.g., agreements). Conducting AIM monitoring in-house may keep costs down but may require a more time-intensive hiring process and longer-term funding commitments.  In contrast, conducting monitoring through an external party may be more expensive but be simpler administratively and more compatible with one-time funding.
  • If you seek a partner to conduct monitoring, be aware of the differences in cost and services. Some crews cost less but require more BLM supervision and training, whereas other partners cost more but operate more independently. Also, sometimes there are existing agreements with your state that can streamline the process.
  • First-year costs are often slightly higher because of having to purchase equipment. Good equipment management can keep costs down in future years.
  • Tablets for field data collection can be borrowed from the NOC (contact Baili Foster, bfoster@blm.gov).

 

Funding Resources

 BLM Internal One-Time Funds through Annual Work Plan (AWP) (Note that the choice of subactivity depends on what type of monitoring you propose to do, e.g., aquatic vs. terrestrial)

  • 1010: Soil, Water, and Air
    • Cooperative Landscape Conservation (often known as “climate change”)
  • 1020: Range and Invasive Plants
  • 1040: Riparian
  • 1060: Wild Horses and Burros
  • 1110: Wildlife
    • Sage-grouse
  • 1120: Fisheries
  • 1150: Threatened and Endangered Species
  • 1310: Oil and Gas
  • 1340: Renewable Energy
  • 1610: Planning
  • 1711: National Landscape Conservation System (National Monuments and National Conservation Areas) – can apply for funding related to specific units
  • Healthy Lands Initiative (cross-subactivity)

BLM Internal Funding – Other

External Funding – BLM Only (Note that type of monitoring proposed must match the particular funding call)

External Funding – BLM With Partners (Note that partnership and type of monitoring proposed must match the particular funding call)

Potential Partners (alphabetical order)

  • Americorps
  • Chicago Botanic Gardens
  • GeoCorps
  • Great Basin Institute
  • Natural Heritage Program
  • Other Federal agencies – ARS, NRCS, USFS (Enterprise teams), USGS
  • Retired Federal employees
  • Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
  • Student Conservation Association
  • University

Need Help Creating an Agreement Form?

Please contact the NOC (Baili Foster at bfoster@blm.gov) for assistance creating and understanding your cooperative agreement form.

 

 

Crew Hiring Tips

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  1. Create position descriptions for crew leads and seasonals (contact Baili Foster for assistance).
  2. Start advertising the job on various job boards and top schools with strong range or botany programs.  
  3. Hire a crew lead.  This crew lead should be on for at least 9 months to 1 year to write reports.  
    1. For existing AIM programs, the start date should be one to two weeks prior to the crew start date to begin prepping for season and assist the project lead.
    2. For new AIM programs, the start date should be a month before the field crew lead starts.  This will allow more time to learn about office priorities, review sample design, set up a sampling strategy,  and address potential hurdles.
    3. Previous experience with AIM, especially with the DIMA database for terrestrial efforts, is a very valuable skillset for crew leads.
  4. Hire two crew members that are on for ~5-6 months.  Many AIM efforts have found partnerships with other organizations, especially those that engage youth, to be the best means of accomplishing monitoring work.  Others have hired BLM seasonals.
  5. Conduct interviews and hire the crew lead and the rest of the crew several months before the beginning of the field season.
    1. Once personnel have accepted the position, immediately work with HR to begin background checks. Then when the crews report they should have access to BLM computers.  This will enable the BLM project lead to delegate responsibilities to the crew lead and crew.  
  6. Once the crew is on-board, it is important to introduce them to the project that they will be working on.  A good introduction will provide a sense of understanding and purpose for the work they will be doing and the  data they will be collecting.

 

 

Next step: Designing the Project

 

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