The demands of aging infrastructure require effective methods for structural monitoring and maintenance. Wireless smart sensor networks offer the ability to enhance structural health monitoring (SHM) practices through the utilization of onboard computation to achieve distributed data management. Such an approach is scalable to the large number of sensor nodes required for high-fidelity modal analysis and damage detection. While smart sensor technology is not new, the number of full-scale SHM applications has been limited. This slow progress is due, in part, to the complex network management issues that arise when moving from a laboratory setting to a full-scale monitoring implementation. This paper presents flexible network management software that enables continuous and autonomous operation of wireless smart sensor networks for full-scale SHM applications. The software components combine sleep/wake cycling for enhanced power management with threshold detection for triggering network wide tasks, such as synchronized sensing or decentralized modal analysis, during periods of critical structural response.