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The ECSC was established in 2001 as part of NOAA's Educational Partnership Program to address ecological and coastal management issues at specific National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) and National Marine Sanctuaries. When viewed collectively, ECSC activities will impact much of the southeastern coastal regions of the United Sates including the Mississippi, Florida and Texas Gulf coasts. These sites were selected because of the critical nature of their coastal ecosystems; their proximity to ECSC member institutions; and because they presented ideal opportunities to expand existing research, education, and outreach activities involving member institutions.

The ECSC has four primary and interrelated goals:

  • Increase the number of scientists, particularly from under-represented minority groups in the environmental, coastal and oceanic sciences.
  • Enhance the scientific understanding of human interactions with the coastal environment, particularly through integrated assessments in support of NOAA’s place-based management, to understand the response of coastal ecosystems, including humans, to human activities and stressors, and to develop tools to characterize, evaluate, and forecast critical attributes of ecosystem health.
  • Improve the scientific bases for coastal resource management through applications on systems of interest to NOAA.
  • Facilitate community education and outreach relating to the function and significance of coastal ecosystem.

The ECSC will focus significant research efforts towards the structure of the economic and social systems of coastal communities and their relationships with the natural systems. By applying an interdisciplinary approach to address this specific focus, the ECSC will incorporate socio-economics, law and policy, and the geospatial, biological, chemical and physical sciences into its development. 

Furthermore, by utilizing research as a vehicle to train students and develop skills related to integrated science in support of coastal resource management (ISCRM), the ECSC strives to be at the forefront of training individuals to meet the needs for effective stewardship and sustainable management of America's coastal resources.

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