The following tools support the planning of river restoration:
DPSIR: Driver – Pressures – State – Impact – Response
The DPSIR and nested DPSIR frameworks are conceptual tools that can be applied in the project planning cycle at both a catchment and project scale. It captures the key relationships between society and the environment and encourages the decision maker to think about the challenges at a larger scale, across multiple sectors, and thus produce an outcome that can identify multi-benefits by linking the ecosystem approach, ecosystem services and societal benefits that come from these services. At a catchment scale it should be used to identify restoration potential and aid decisions for objectives of the programme of measures. At a project scale it will allow appropriate rehabilitation measures to be identified, whilst still considering a river basin scale.
Click here to download a summary of the "DPSIR" planning tool (PDF).
See also the US EPA's Tutorials on Systems Thinking using the DPSIR Framework
WISE conflict and resolution matrices
The WISE (Wide, Involvement, Stakeholders & Exchange) approach is based on conflict and resolution matrices. It ensures effective collaboration between disciplines and interaction with policy makers and the local stakeholder community to distinguish between the social, economic and environmental requirements when identifying measures and restoration projects. Decisions in river restoration face a range of conflicts when trying to plan and achieve objectives, but multi-stakeholder approaches can overcome conflict and resolution by:
- developing a communication plan;
- ensuring that the interests of stakeholders are understood and considered;
- bringing together different areas of expertise for identifying and analyzing the best opportunities;
- ensuring conflicts are adequately identified.
An evaluation of the current and future conflicts, both real and perceived, between the project activities and outcomes and other user groups is part of this consultation.
Clear objectives should be set for the programme of measures to justify chosen rehabilitation measures. A decision matrix can be used alongside the DPSIR frameworks to aid managers in their decision making, to identify and predict the impact of a sector on the surrounding environment, and to provide feasible restoration solutions to mitigate negative impacts. The decision matrix uses expert judgment, in addition to all information collected at a catchment scale. The end result of the programme of measures is to locate and prioritize reach-scale restoration projects, some of which will combine several rehabilitation measures, ensuring smaller-scale projects are working towards a catchment approach.
Benchmarks and endpoints
Setting benchmarks and endpoints that are linked to clearly defined project goals is a valuable approach to help determine the measure of success within river rehabilitation. They place a level of quality to rehabilitation that can be used as a standard when comparing other things against which to measure performance.
Monitoring is necessary to all river restoration project planning frameworks as it helps with the evaluation of overall project effectiveness by assessing results against the objectives. It should be designed in the project formulation phase, prior to implementation. A replicated BACI (Before-After-Control-Impact) design is recommended. It is the most powerful design because it includes replication in both time and space.
Click here to download a summary of the "monitoring design" planning tool (PDF).
Setting SMART project objectives
Setting achievable goals helps to define project intent, but objectives should be set as specific measurable outcomes. It is advised to follow the SMART approach when setting objectives.
Click here to download a summary of the "setting SMART objectives" planning tool (PDF).
Problem tree analysis and tree of objectives
A problem tree analysis can be used to review the cause-effect relationships of key issues for rehabilitation measures. It can be developed into an objective tree by rephrasing each of the problems into desirable outcomes. In this way the root causes and consequences are turned into root solutions. This process is designed to help the project manager think about the key objectives of the river restoration project and what the project is setting out to achieve, and to recognize the inherent complexity and constraints.
Click here to download a summary of the "problem tree analysis" planning tool (PDF).
Logical framework approach
The logical framework approach is useful in setting out the design of the restoration project in a clear and logical way, so that any weaknesses that exist can be brought to the attention of the planners. The identified deficiencies may then be remedied at an early stage or, if insuperable, the restoration project may be discounted. The logical framework technique emphasizes the value of choosing measurable indicators or endpoints which can be assessed throughout the life of the project, and also instructs the users to assess carefully the risks and assumptions upon which the project is based.
Click here to download a summary of the "logical framework approach" planning tool (PDF).
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