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:
Submit public comments supporting the expansion here.
Register for, and give testimony at, one of the three public hearings.
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.