school of fish in background
Skip to page Header home about your sanctuary visiting your sanctuary education science management news and events protecting resources image library document library Get Involved advisory council partners NOAA logo - a circle with a stylized seabird in flight; background is dark blue above the bird and light blue below the bird.

blank spaceFind us on Facebook

     Follow @fgbnms on Twitter


Skip to Main Content
Management Overview    Sanctuary Expansion
2012 Management Plan     Regulations    


Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary uses an integrated approach to manage and protect its natural resources.


provides the information needed for making decisions regarding the resources. It creates the baseline data sets with which to assess changing conditions in the sanctuary.

Cylinder attached to a line suspended from a buoy.  A scuba diver is floating to the right of the line and reaching toward the cylinder.

Education and Outreach...

are the conduits for the flow of information between the staff and the public. They provide the sanctuary a means to share lessons learned through research and collect information from sanctuary users to be considered during policy development.

A man wearing a paper scuba mask while holding his daughter and standing in front of a sanctuary display board.

top of page

Resource Protection...

involves the implementation of specific protective measures based on information gathered through research, education, and outreach.

Pile of rusty anchors and chains in a large mesh crate on the deck of a ship.

None of these activities would be effective without the many valuable partnerships between the sanctuary, other government agencies, and the private sector.

FGBNMS 2012 Accomplishments (660kb pdf)

top of page


The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is required by law to periodically review sanctuary managment plans. The original management plan for Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuarydates back to its designation in 1992.

Federal Register Notice of Sanctuary Designation and Regulations, December 5, 1991, 56 FR 63634 (2.1MB pdf)

In September 2006, the sanctuary officially embarked on its first Management Plan Review (MPR), a public process that allowed sanctuary staff to revisit the original designation documents and plan for the future. A Draft Management Plan was released in October 2010 then revised in response to a variety of public comments received following its release. The Final Management Plan was released in April 2012.

Cover view of the 2012 Management Plan

top of page

What is a sanctuary management plan?

A sanctuary management plan is a site-specific planning and management document that describes the objectives, policies and activities for a sanctuary. Management plans generally outline regulatory goals, and describe boundaries, research and education programs. They also guide the development of future management activities.

Why should it be updated?

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) reviews sanctuary management plans to ensure that sanctuary sites continue to best conserve, protect and enhance their nationally significant living and cultural resources. Recent scientific discoveries, advancements in managing marine resources and new resource management issues may not be addressed in existing plans.

To learn more about this process, visit our Management Plan Review page.

top of page

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Gray-green tube sponge cluster in foreground.  Algae covered rocks in background.  Tubes range from 5-20 inches tall and about 1 to 3 inches across.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves