The design phase of an Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) project involves making the technical decisions necessary to address the questions and objectives identified by the ID team. The process of designing a monitoring and assessment effort can be broken down into a series of steps (Figure 1; Steps 1-6). For some steps, standard AIM protocols and language are already in place. The steps are listed in the order they are normally completed, but there is no “single” way to design a monitoring program and the steps should be viewed as an iterative process. Sometimes the discussions around these design requirements even lead to changing some of the decisions made during the planning stage.

As you go through each step, fill out the corresponding Monitoring Design Worksheet which provides a step-by-step template for designing BLM AIM efforts. A Monitoring Design Worksheet template can also be found on the AIM Sharepoint site. We encourage you to work through the design process as an ID team, but completion of the worksheet should be done in coordination with your state lead and the AIM team at the NOC. Completion of the worksheet is an iterative process and can be revised and updated throughout the life cycle of your AIM project.

To request assistance contact Aleta Nafus (, AIM Terrestrial Implementation Lead at the BLM National Operations Center, or Nicole Cappuccio (, AIM Aquatic Implementation Lead at the BLM National Operations Center. Additional information on the concepts described here is also available on the Landscape Toolbox site

Start with Step 1:  Develop management objectives; select additional ecosystem attributes and indicators to monitor

Helpful Documents and Links:

Monitoring Design Worksheet

Monitoring Design Worksheet Instructions

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