State and local governments have prepared Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) for Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs). These RAPs are to incorporate an “ecosystem” approach that recognizes ecological interrelationships. The financial implications of this approach have gone largely unexamined. This article describes historical revenues and expenditures for environmental functions by state and local governments in the Great Lakes states and in AOCs. Its purposes are to identify some fiscal measures that will be affected by an ecosystem approach and to document trends in public finances among governmental units with responsibility for implementation of RAPs. Great Lakes state and local governments generally increased spending on ecosystem functions between 1977 and 1987; it will be shown that charge and utility revenues for ecosystem functions also increased, and that municipalities within AOCs generally have higher total expenditures than do their counterparts. Implications for financing of RAPs are also discussed.