The weed management team cannot afford all the time it would take to plan every project in detail together. People would frustrate themselves by spending too much time meeting vs. doing weed management and quit before any actual work takes place. However, the people doing on-the-ground weed management need a written record of their planned actions and assumptions. This is project planning.
Planning occurs at several levels (state, county, or local) for a variety of objectives. The War on Weeds Step 2 – Build Coalition Through Collaborative Planning and Management (Fact Sheet 99-76) discusses the level of planning needed to build coalitions, uniting people behind a common goal based on a vision. That process must provide enough specifics to be achievable and it often needs to prioritize a long list of individual projects.
Often the weed management team develops action plans for sub-areas within the overall weed management area. In coordinated planning or as project planning begins the weed management area can be broken into smaller units of a size that is effective for project planning. Each area (pasture, range, drainage, lot, soil type etc.) that will need a different treatment project team, billing method, application timing, or other project variation should be referred to as a "unit". Even a right-of-way could be classified as a "unit". Use as many units as needed. They can be of any size as long as the combined unit descriptions adequately cover the total area that you will be working on. A unit may even describe entire ranches, sections or townships. The key is to link unit size and area haracteristics to the project planning needs.
The weed management team will find a detailed and user-friendly map very useful (See War on Weeds, Step 3-Map Important Weeds for a Living Inventory, Fact Sheet 99-77). If the information needed for mapping and analysis is not available for the whole area, the inventory-type information collected in the form at the end of this fact sheet can help establish priorities.
The team needs to involve people who know the country and who will be working on the project in delineating units. As people look at maps and aerial photographs of a unit, they may remember or learn of small, isolated infestations others may not know about. Or, they may discuss particular features or management issues that could be addressed better by rearranging unit boundaries. In doing so, the group creates a unit map for the whole weed management area. This map is part of the essential record of what was planned and implemented.
After unit mapping, project plans are built from an assessment or inventory and analysis of the situation in the unit. To make project planning easier and more complete, a form is provided that includes spaces for inventory, analysis, treatment alternatives considered, and decisions made. Complete a form for each unit in the management area. Feel free to make multiple copies of the blank forms and as many copies of the completed forms as you will need to keep workers informed about the specifics of their project tasks.
Although all the inventory information is useful, some is more useful than others, or more useful in certain situations. This information could be used to prioritize among units. A point system could help rate units on the basis of importance or urgency (See War on Weeds Step 4. – Prioritizing Weed Management, Fact Sheet 99-78). With or without a point system, the form provides some information for objectively comparing units and alternative treatments.
As the project is implemented, the Unit Project Plan (or Record of Action ) form can be used as the permanent record.