Environmental restoration projects can benefit from using performance models tied to monitoring plans and closure/exit strategies. Theoretical aspects are discussed and a case study is provided to illustrate how models can be developed and applied. Recognizing that site characterization cannot remove all uncertainty, most performance models cannot be narrowly developed (e.g., specific concentrations expected over time). Instead they must define threshold values at which performance data indicate the remedy is failing, or at least is not operating at the required level to achieve objectives within a reasonable timeframe. Ultimately, the performance model should be transformed to a closure model. The closure model is intended to document how closure was achieved and what measures remain in place to ensure protection of human health and the environment. In this context, the performance model is an intermediate step in the sequence starting from a conceptual site model and ending as the closure model. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.