Policy evolution was characterized by Charles Lindblom three decades ago as "fragmented, disjointed incrementalism. " He argued incrementalism made the best use of very limited theory and data upon which to base decisions. This was a maj or intellectual challenge to the advocates of comprehensive planning based upon scientific principles and analysis. The result has been further research on how to achieve effective strategic policy innovations. Of special relevance to the Great Lakes has been recent research stimulated by the prospect of global climate change. We combine it with the results of a seminar that has simulated the application of ecosystem planning to the Great Lakes, and use the synthesis to illustrate that the prerequisites for nonincremental decision making are slowly being achieved. Suggestions are made to speed that process. KEY TERMS: Environmental Management, Great Lakes, policy Development, Comprehensive planning, Intergovernmental Relations.