Fish over a vibrant coral reef

Our Amazing Oceans Webinar: Coral in the Gulf

Off the coast of Texas, spectacular coral reefs in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary provide a home for sea turtles, manta rays, and all manner of ocean life-and now, we have a chance to expand the sanctuary to protect more of these special places.

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Anna Farrell-Sherman
Clean Water Associate

Author: Anna Farrell-Sherman

Clean Water Associate

Anna works to protect Texas and our waterways. She advocates for nature-based infrastructure, like rain gardens and green roofs, that allow stormwater to slow down and soak into the soil thereby preventing water pollution, easing drought, mitigating flooding, and reducing urban heat.

Anna started on staff with Environment Texas in August of 2019, after graduating from Wellesley College with a BA in computer science with an emphasis on biology.  Anna is excited to be exploring Austin through rock climbing, cooking, and hiking.

 

About 100 miles off the coast of Texas, dozens of “banks,” underwater mountains, protrude from the sea floor, rising nearly to the surface. On the slopes of these underwater mountains, hidden beneath the water of the Atlantic ocean, sit spectacular coral reefs providing a home for sea turtles, manta rays, and all manner of ocean life.

The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary protects three of these underwater mountains --marine banks-- and now, we have a chance to expand the sanctuary to protect more of these special places. Recognizing that this sanctuary provides critical habitat for endangered species and that these fragile ecosystems need our protection, NOAA has proposed expanding the sanctuary from 3 to 17 underwater mountain banks, tripling the number of square miles that are protected.

There are three things you can do to help protect this special ecosystem:

  1. Submit public comments supporting the expansion here.

  2. Register for, and give testimony at, one of the three public hearings.

  3. Learn more about the Sanctuary and the expansion by watching the webinar we hosted on May 26th and share what you learn with your friends!

Sample public comments and/or Testimony:

I fully support NOAA’s proposed expansion to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.  (Tell a story here about why you love the ocean). Flower Garden Banks is the only Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico and protects the northernmost coral ecosystems in the United States. These waters provide critical habitat for sea turtles, manta rays, and countless other ocean creatures that need our protection. NOAA’s proposal is an essential first step and should be expanded in the years to come to help protect more of these areas.

A map of the 17 banks in the proposed sanctuary expansion sitting off the Texas-Louisiana coast
NOAA's map of the proposed expansion shows the boundaries in white.
NOAA
Anna Farrell-Sherman
Clean Water Associate

Author: Anna Farrell-Sherman

Clean Water Associate

Anna works to protect Texas and our waterways. She advocates for nature-based infrastructure, like rain gardens and green roofs, that allow stormwater to slow down and soak into the soil thereby preventing water pollution, easing drought, mitigating flooding, and reducing urban heat.

Anna started on staff with Environment Texas in August of 2019, after graduating from Wellesley College with a BA in computer science with an emphasis on biology.  Anna is excited to be exploring Austin through rock climbing, cooking, and hiking.