Estuarine, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystem issues should be at the center of environmental policy development because of the enormous economic and ecological benefit these regions provide to the country (NSTC, 1995a). Coincident with that attention, there should be a demand for improved data and information and an advanced understanding of how these ecosystems function and how human and natural processes interact to cause changes within them. However, for a variety of reasons, our community is instead faced with waning attention and shrinking budgets. Although there are probably a number of reasons for this, I believe that at least some of it results from problems generated by traditional piecemeal approaches to research and management and by lack of dialogue within and among the research and management communities. I would like to suggest ways to help overcome at least some of this problem.