assessments. Doppelt et al., (1993) note, "Planning for nontimber surface resources including riparian and flood plain management, is to a large degree determined by limitations on timber production—despite the fact that the NFMA repeatedly directs that the forests be managed for 'multiple use' of renewable resources."
The Forest Service planning process solicits public comment on proposed plans and projects through standard NEPA procedures (e.g., environmental impact statements). But stakeholder inputs are also solicited as a first step in the planning process, as well as in the EIS draft review. In response, about 1000 administrative appeals and 20 to 30 lawsuits are filed annually in response to Forest Service timber plan decisions and NEPA compliance. Consequently, the courts provide an important mechanism for identifying trade-offs between alternative courses of action, as well as the means for selecting final actions (U.S. Forest Service, 1997).
The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has developed a guidebook, Achieving Efficient Water Management (U.S. BOR, 1996), which details a five-step planning process. This process begins with problem definition and information gathering. The guidebook emphasizes that these activities go hand-in-hand and are intended to uncover information gaps and uncertainties about problems. This phase of the process considers the physical setting, water rights, permits and contracts, lands and crops, district operation and operating policies, water pricing and accounting, the inventory of water resources, other water uses, and existing water management and conservation programs. Goals and priority are closely related to problem identification in the BOR planning process, and are intended to chart a direction for water management and to establish yardsticks by which to measure progress in meeting goals.
The BOR planning process does not address the issue of appropriate watershed scale. BOR water management is centered around districts, not watersheds. This organizational artifact diverts BOR planning from addressing watershed issues directly. BOR planning guidelines do, however, stress the importance of stakeholder involvement in creating effective and credible plans. BOR seeks to include water users, local community leaders, state and federal agency staff, and representatives of various interest groups in the planning process. According to the BOR, stakeholder involvement: (1) seeks to build credibility, (2) identify and understand the diverse concerns and values of parties potentially affected by the plan, and (3) develop a consensus among divergent interests.
A critical evaluation of alternative solutions is the third step in the BOR planning process. This phase considers such factors as costs, water savings, flow and use patterns, environmental impacts, legal and institutional considerations, and political acceptability. At this stage the acceptability of certain solutions