Restoration Guidelines





Restoration Decisions: (and theory)


reference sites

Case Studies


State of the Science

success criteria
floristic quality


Created by:

Abby Rokosch
Jessen Book
Siobhan Fennessy

Principles, Guidelines, and a Checklist for a "successful" restoration project (from URL:

It is important to remember that each wetland is unique and that these guidelines are not universal to all wetland types


  • Preserving a high quality habitat should take precedence during restoration
  • Small restoration projects are beneficial but wetland restoration planning should not ignore the surrounding landscape
  • Restoration requires long-term monitoring
  • Must plan for, except, and remediate any undesirable consequences of restoration efforts (i.e. invasive species)


(see chart below from URL:

  • Identify goals (general statements about desired outcomes), objectives (specific statements about desired outcome), and performance standards (measurable attributes that can be used to determine if a project is meeting its objectives)
  • Site selection (red boxes): Site should be compatible with goals and objectives
  • Project design and construction (blue boxes): different plans and methods should be considered based on ecological and economical principles
  • Monitoring (yellow boxes): Long-term monitoring is necessary in order to evaluate and determine the condition of the restoration project
  • Performance standards are not met (pink boxes): reconsider goals and objectives, take remedial action, document any failures
  • Successful projects (purple boxes): it performance standards are achieved then the project can be determined successful.


(reprinted from National Research Council, 1992)

Project Planning and Design

  1. Has the problem requiring treatment been clearly understood and defined?
  2. Is there a consensus on the restoration program's mission?
  3. Have the goals and objectives been identified?
  4. Has the restoration been planned with adequate scope and expertise?
  5. Does the restoration management design have an annual or midcourse correction point in line with adaptive management procedures?
  6. Are the performance indicators--the measurable biological, physical, and chemical attributes--directly and appropriately linked to the objectives?
  7. Have adequate monitoring, surveillance, management, and maintenance programs been developed along with the project, so that monitoring costs and operational details are anticipated and monitoring results will be available to serve as input in improving restoration techniques used as the project matures?
  8. Has an appropriate reference system (or systems) been selected from which to extract target values of performance indicators for comparison in conducting the project evaluations?
  9. Have sufficient baseline data been collected over a suitable period of time on the project ecosystem to facilitate before-and-after treatment comparisons?
  10. Have critical project procedures been tested on a small experimental scale in part of the project area to minimize the risks of failure?
  11. Has the project been designed to make the restored ecosystem as self-sustaining as possible to minimize maintenance requirements?
  12. Has thought been given to how long monitoring will have to be continued before the project can be declared effective?
  13. Have risk and uncertainty been adequately considered in project planning?

During Restoration

  1. Based on the monitoring results, are the anticipated intermediate objectives being achieved? If not, are appropriate steps being taken to correct the problem(s)?
  2. Do the objective or performance indicators need to be modified? If so, what changes may be required in the monitoring program?
  3. Is the monitoring program adequate?


  1. To what extent were project goals and objectives achieved?
  2. How similar in structure and function is the restored ecosystem to the target ecosystem?
  3. To what extent is the restored ecosystem self-sustaining, and what are the maintenance requirements?
  4. If all natural ecosystem functions were not restored, have critical ecosystem functions been restored?
  5. If all natural components of the ecosystem were not restored, have critical components been restored?
  6. How long did the project take?
  7. What lessons have been learned from this effort?
  8. Have those lessons been shared with interested parties to maximize the potential for technology transfer?
  9. What was the final cost, in net present value terms, of the restoration project?
  10. What were the ecological, economic, and social benefits realized by the project?
  11. How cost-effective was the project?
  12. Would another approach to restoration have produced desirable results at lower cost?

For a list of research questions, click here!