ECW shares its history with 16 other community-based environmental organizations in Atlantic Canada, through a program originally named the Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP), now known as the Atlantic Ecosystems Initiative (AEI).

In 1991, faced with an urgent need to restore damaged coastal environments, Environment Canada initiated ACAP as a means of mobilizing local communities to address their own environmental and developmental challenges.

Each site operates as an incorporated non-profit organization with its own board of directors. AEI organizations adapt their priorities to local challenges and circumstances.

ECW focuses on Eastern Charlotte County, conducting work in the freshwater, coastal, and marine environments of Southwestern New Brunswick. This area is bordered by the Lepreau watershed in the east, and the Digdeguash in the west, encompassing the northern tributaries of the Magaguadavic to the Bay of Fundy.