Restoration as a practice is built on the principle of change, with a primary goal of maximizing ecological processes to facilitate self-sustaining dynamic systems. Natural disturbances such as fire, drought, and flood play an important role in riparian ecosystems with many dominant species evolving aspects of their life history to complement such disturbances. However, natural disturbances have been modified by human actions with increased fire frequency/intensity, modified hydrology (e.g., dams and flood conveyance), and climate change. In addition to natural disturbances many stressors brought on by direct human actions further complicate restoration and subsequent management of riparian ecosystems. In southern California invasive plant and wildlife species are one of the primary stressors plaguing riparian areas. We will utilize two large scale restoration projects currently in the planning phases to discuss a variety of current issues facing riparian restoration including the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) beetle (Euwallacea sp.), water management (drought, dams, and conservation efforts), invasive plant species, and sensitive wildlife species. The first project is the Otay River Restoration Project, located in San Diego California, where mitigation is proposed for the mainstem river approximately 1 mile below Savage Dam.