Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is one of 14 federally designated underwater areas protected by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. It is the only sanctuary site located in the Gulf of Mexico.
Situated 70 to 115 miles off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, the Flower Garden Banks sanctuary includes underwater communities that rise from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico atop three underwater mountains called salt domes.
The sanctuary actually protects three separate areas: East Flower Garden Bank, West Flower Garden Bank and Stetson Bank. The reef caps at East and West Flower Garden Banks are about 13 miles apart, while Stetson Bank lies about 30 miles to the northwest of West Flower Garden Bank. The miles of open ocean between banks range in depth from 200 to 500 feet (61-152 meters). Each bank has its own set of boundaries.