We implemented and institutionalized an adaptive management (AM) process for the Columbia Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program, which is a large-scale restoration program focused on improving ecosystem conditions in the 234-km lower Columbia River and estuary. For our purpose, “institutionalized”means the AMprocess and restoration programs are embedded in the work flow of the implementing agencies and affected parties. While plans outlining frameworks, processes, or
approaches to AMof ecosystem restoration programs are commonplace, their establishment for the long term is not. This article presents the basic AMprocess and explains how AMwas implemented and institutionalized. Starting with a common goal, we pursued a well-understood governance and decision-making structure, routine coordination and communication activities, data and information sharing, commitment from partners and upper agency management to the AMprocess, and meaningful cooperation among program managers and partners. The overall approach and steps to implement and institutionalize AM for ecosystem restoration explained here are applicable to situations in which it has been incomplete or, as in our case, the restoration program is just getting started.