In order to increase the likelihood of success restoration projects rely on a great deal of work before on-the-ground restoration begins. This section introduces a number of the different considerations that must be addressed before embarking on a restoration project and highlights questions that any restoration project must answer depending on the nature of their specific project. In some cases, the restoration site is pre-determined, as in when a landowner or agency is interested in restoring a specific stream on their property; in other cases, such as federal land managing agencies land managers may need to prioritize restoration sites based on a number of constraints, including limited resources, multiple land-uses and differing conditions of streams. While both of these scenarios require collecting background information in the form of watershed assessments and/or beaver habitat assessments there are also differences that can change the types of assessments needed.
Figure Z illustrates the elements of an initial planning process and how different restoration scenarios can approach restoration projects differently. In general, projects where the restoration location is fixed (e.g., already identified and immovable) will require a lesser amount of pre-project assessment than projects that require identifying potential restoration reaches. In cases where the restoration reaches must be identified within a region or watershed more planning and assessment is required. In both cases there are tools and protocol that can address the necessary questions that must be addressed. There are many different approaches