The National Sea Grant College program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1966 and works to create and maintain a healthy coastal environment and economy. The Sea Grant network consists of a federal/university partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and 34 university-based programs in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The network draws on the expertise of more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, public outreach experts, educators and students to help citizens better understand, conserve and utilize America's coastal resources.
Every four years, the National Sea Grant College Program taps into its vast network of scientists, engagement professionals, stakeholders, and federal partners to identify and address the needs of coastal communities around the country. A strategic plan is developed by representatives from the Sea Grant Network to produce high quality science and inform management of coastal resources in ways that balance human use with environmental health. The strategic planning process identifies core values and focus areas that drive efforts to address the priorities established by coastal communities.