Gulf sanctuary could add coral reefs off Texas, Louisiana

10815291_GFederal officials are considering enlarging a research sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana by adding more than a dozen coral reefs and banks. The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, which is about 100 miles off Galveston, is federally protected to avoid damage from vessels and oil and gas drilling operators. In the early 2000s, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began exploring options for expansion of the 56-square-mile sanctuary. It has proposed five alternatives for expansion. Staffers recommend adding 15 reefs, including one basalt sphere – a geological feature. Public comments on all of the alternatives are being accepted until Aug. 19. The agency will review the public input,,, Read the rest here 08:16