Human-driven alterations to freshwater ecosystems are leading to a global decline of river function and biodiversity. In our experience, managers want to be given many possible options to restore freshwater ecosystems that are workable within spatial, temporal, operational, and budgetary constraints of the system. Correspondingly, a new field for systematic river restoration planning has emerged through the use of well-established systems design concepts like multi-objective optimization and tradeoff analysis. In this article, we propose a decision framework for systematic river restoration planning where economic-environment systems design and tradeoff analyses are employed as a concurrent planning procedure before restoration interventions are implemented. Heuristic optimization and multi-criteria decision analysis methods are proposed to systematically design and objectively evaluate non-dominated economic-environment tradeoffs associated with restoration strategies within a watershed, and to provide a short-list of viable restoration alternatives to decision makers for negotiation and implementation. The proposed framework has the capacity to make science-based information and sophisticated decision support methods available for stakeholder deliberation. To illustrate the phases of the framework, we use a published case study of systematic restoration planning in South East Queensland, Australia.