Accept Responsibilities, Agree on Metrics and Milestones
Developing and executing complex plans is difficult. Meeting objectives in one area often will depend on coordinated action among several organizations. Successful communities bring partners together during the planning process to agree on explicit individual and joint responsibilities for implementing the plan.
A composite work plan, which establishes metrics and specifies milestones for each partner, can keep everyone on the same path. Some communities establish detailed timelines with each organization’s tasks matched to agreed upon deadlines. Though complex, this kind of project management reinforces prospects for success. See page 60 of San Francisco’s 2014 Urban Forest Plan for their detailed implementation plan.
Acknowledging that green infrastructure and urban forestry initiatives by their nature evolve slowly, other communities have adopted 5- and 10-year goals for all participating partners. Seattle’s 2013 Urban Forest Stewardship Plan provides a great example.
Sustaining efforts by multiple partners requires long-term monitoring, frequent communication and reporting, especially when urban forestry and green infrastructure plans interlock with transportation, water and air quality and public health plans. Regional councils can be a crucial component of ensuring sustained efforts. For example, the Mid-America Regional Council has facilitated green infrastructure implementation in their 119 communities, 9 counties and 2 state region.