Representatives from agencies involved in natural resource management in the Murray-Darling Basin gathered for a workshop in November 2010 to develop a vision for improved monitoring and reporting of riparian restoration projects. The resounding message from this workshop was that the effectiveness of riparian restoration depends on having sound, documented and agreed evidence on the ecological responses to restoration efforts. Improving our capacity to manage and restore riparian ecosystems is constrained by (i) a lack of ecological evidence on the effects of restoration efforts, and (ii) short-termism in commitment to restoration efforts, in funding of monitoring and in expected time spans for ecosystem recovery. Restoration at the effective spatial scope will invariably require a long-term commitment by researchers, funding agencies, management agencies and landholders. To address the knowledge gaps that constrain riparian restoration in the Basin, participants endorsed four major fields for future research: the importance of landscape context to restoration outcomes; spatio-temporal scaling of restoration outcomes; functional effects of restoration efforts; and developing informative and effective indicators of restoration. To improve the monitoring and restoration of riparian zones throughout the Basin, participants advocated an integrated approach: a hierarchical adaptive management framework that incorporates long-term ecological research.