Planning and Project Initiation:
Before you begin an AIM project, be sure to coordinate with your AIM state lead to discuss monitoring priorities and budget possibilities.
- 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, 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.
Begin forming your ID team
- 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.
Define Roles and Responsibilities
- 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.
Monitoring Field Crew Hiring Tips
- Create position descriptions for crew leads and crew members (contact Baili Foster for assistance).
- Start advertising the job on various job boards and top schools with strong range, botany, or soils programs.
- Hire a crew lead. This crew lead should be on for at least 9 months to 1 year to write reports.
- 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.
- 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.
- Previous experience with AIM, especially with the DIMA database for terrestrial efforts, is a very valuable skillset for crew leads.
- 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.
- Conduct interviews and hire the crew lead and the rest of the crew several months before the beginning of the field season.
- 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.
- Once the crew is onboard, 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