Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (NMS), the Gulf of Mexico’s only federally designated underwater sanctuary, was created to protect the area’s diverse, vibrant coral reef ecosystem from human activities such as oil and gas extraction, anchoring on the reefs, and fishing. The sanctuary gets its name from local fishermen who previously called this area the "Texas Flower Gardens" because of its colorful marine life.
NCEI hosts and maintains the Flower Garden Banks Interactive Map Viewer, which provides access to sanctuary data, photographs, and shaded relief bathymetry, along with reference data that includes buoys, artificial reefs, and climatology.
Research and Monitoring
The Flower Garden Banks sanctuary science team and research partners engage in a wide variety of data gathering activities, including general exploration, habitat characterization, investigation of specific research questions, and routine monitoring. This data informs long-term assessments of sanctuary health, as well as resource management and allocation efforts.
The sanctuary is located in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico and consists of three separate areas: East Flower Garden Bank, West Flower Garden Bank and Stetson Bank. The two Flower Garden Banks are 12 miles apart and located 100–115 miles directly south of the Texas/Louisiana border. Stetson Bank is located about 70 miles south of Galveston, TX, and about 30 miles northwest of the other two banks.