Despite considerable investment in river restoration projects, there is still limited information on the efficacy and success of river restoration activities. One of the main reasons is poor or improper project design, resulting in common problems such as: not addressing the root cause of habitat degradation; not establishing reference conditions, benchmarks and not defining endpoints against which to measure success; inappropriate uses of common restoration techniques because of lack of pre-planning; and inadequate monitoring or appraisal of restoration projects. In this paper peer-reviewed and grey literature and a large database of existing case studies were reviewed to identify the prevailing challenges river managers face when planning and developing river restoration projects. To overcome these current challenges an integrated project planning framework has been developed that incorporates adaptive management and project management techniques.
It encapsulates key concepts and decision support tools to advance the existing sequence of project identification, project formulation, project implementation and post-project monitoring to incorporate multidisciplinary decision making to meet specific environmental and socio-economic objectives. The proposed river restoration project planning framework is adaptable and can therefore be applied to any project development scenario locally, regionally or internationally.
Keywords: River restoration; Project planning; Adaptive management; Success; Evaluation; Monitoring
Angelopoulos N.V., Cowx I.G. & Buijse A.D. Integrated planning framework for successful river restoration projects: upscaling lessons learnt from European case studies. Environmental Science and Policy 76: 12–22.