This Manual is both an explanatory and a practical guide to the holistic appraisal required for today's river projects. It has been derived from the intense practical experience of a specially-formed appraisal team which tackled a wide range of high value projects between 1985 and 1988. The message of the Manual, the first to deal quite so comprehensively with the subject, is that investment in holistic appraisal bears dividends in cost-effective implementation. Building a sound reputation and gaining public support are two other valuable rewards of this approach. The philosophical background to the Manual is to create an adaptive method of management, which will work in partnership with nature, and is transferable across a broad range of river related projects. The manual includes all matters influencing the implementation of the project, other than engineering and economic considerations. The manual is in two parts. The first part defines the stages of technical assessment, the database, documentation and consultation framework, project exposure and the kinds of projects covered. Part 2 contains information advice on specific disciplines which may feature in river projects.