About Us

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.

A map showing the locations of all national marine sanctuaries, marine national monuments and proposed sanctuaries.
Locations of all current and proposed sites in the National Marine Sanctuary system.

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.

A map showing contours and boundaries of all three sanctuary banks with an inset showing where these are located in relation to the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.
Atlas-style map of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

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.

A map showing contours and boundaries of all three sanctuary banks with an inset showing where these are located in relation to the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.
East Flower Garden Bank. The red area of the map highlights the diveable portion of the sanctuary, where the coral reefs are located.
A map showing contours and boundaries of all three sanctuary banks with an inset showing where these are located in relation to the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.
West Flower Garden Bank. The red area of the map highlights the diveable portion of the sanctuary, where the coral reefs are located.
A map showing contours and boundaries of all three sanctuary banks with an inset showing where these are located in relation to the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.
Stetson Bank. The red area of the map highlights the diveable portion of the sanctuary, where the algal/sponge reefs are located.

Management of the sanctuary is accomplished through a combination of education, science, resource protection and regulatory programs.