When NRT was established in 2004, its headquarters in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy were strategically placed to support the eight community conservancies in Samburu and Isiolo counties. By 2010, the number of member conservancies had more than doubled, and spread across seven counties. As more conservancies were established along Kenya's coast, NRT's Lewa base proved too remote to support these coastal communities effectively. While NRT wanted to expand its reach, it didn't want to risk diminishing the quality of support to conservancies - and so NRT-Coast was born.
NRT-Coast has its own governing body, but maintains the same governance structure as NRT. It has its own board and council of elders, members of which also attend NRT’s board and council meetings to ensure the link between the two is kept strong. During the initial stages of the branch, it went by the name NCC (North Coast Conservancies) although it is now officially known as NRT – Coast. It has a headquarters in the ancient port of Lamu, and supports the seven coastal conservancies of Pate, Kiunga, Awer, Lower Tana Delta, Ishaqbini, Hanshak-Nyongoro and Ndera.
There are different priorities here from the inland NRT conservancies. Although Ishaqbini, Hanashak-Nyongoro, and Tana Delta are mainly pastoralist like their inland counterparts, the coastal habitat poses different challenges. Communities in Ndera practice riverine farming, livelihoods in Pate are based around fishing and mangrove cutting, and communities in Awer rely on their coastal forest for sources of income. NRT-Coast supports these communities to implement sustainable natural resource management plans, monitor fishing, and build their capacity for effective governance.