Assessment Process


Step One: Start-up and scoping.
The team meets with stakeholders to explain program goals, objectives and critical questions, methodology, and products.
The team asks stakeholders to identify local watershed concerns, assessment activities and interests, local data or information, and local sources of expertise.
The team explores opportunities to work with local landowners and other groups to share information, collect new data, access private lands for field data, and review assessment products and drafts.
The team establishes a means of communicating ongoing team activities.

Step Two: Data compilation and review.
The team obtains information that may be useful for answering critical questions about current and past watershed uses, conditions, and processes. These include aerial photos, maps, surveys, reports, studies, Timber Harvest Plans, local and regional histories, and other information.
Team members review and screen the information for use in the assessment according to a quality control processes.
Team members describe the information considered in a data catalogue.

Step Three: New data collection.
CWPAP prioritizes new data collection based on adequacy of existing information to answer critical questions.
Request permission from landowners to conduct fieldwork to fill critical data gaps, validate existing data, and/or verify imagery or photo-based analyses.
Collect new data or contract/cooperate with local groups or landowners to do so, using preferred data collection methods. They coordinate access among agencies whenever possible to minimize disturbance to landowners.

Step Four: Disciplinary data analysis.
Analyze data specific to their disciplines using standardized methods.
Develop products including summaries, maps, and charts to characterize watershed history, conditions and trends.
The team shares this information to begin answering critical questions at the watershed scale.

Step Five: Interdisciplinary analysis and synthesis of Public Review Draft.
The Watershed Assessment Team uses several GIS-based analyses to integrate data from all disciplines.
The team uses disciplinary findings, interdisciplinary analyses, and best professional judgment in a final synthesis process to answer critical questions.
Team members use a weight-of-evidence to document key findings about limiting factors and the processes and activities that contribute to them.
The team uses conclusions about limiting factors to develop recommendations about management, restoration and monitoring.
The team develops draft assessment report for public review.

Step Six: Finalize watershed assessment reports and products.
The team conducts local workshops to explain and discuss draft synthesis report, and solicits comments from the public at large.
The program conducts peer review of assessment.
The team uses public and peer review comments to add information, improve analysis and discussions, and improve recommendations, as needed.
The team finalizes synthesis report and all related data and products.
Reports, maps and data are made available on-line at website and on CD.