An effort to further define ecosystem health and integrity has been made through development and adoption of quantitative objectives for fourteen beneficial use impairments associated with the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Narrative descriptions of beneficial use impairments have been used to develop ecosystem type indicators and objectives, which are then used to set goals for rehabilitative actions. This process is both a technical and a social one. Implementation of rehabilitative actions, in addition to being socially, technically and economically challenging has yielded both encouraging and surprising results. The process and the results have reinforced the need for an adaptive management approach to the rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems.