2022 60¢ National Marine Sanctuaries – Elkhorn Coral
Value: 60¢ 1-Ounce First-class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: August 5, 2022
First Day City: Santa Cruz, CA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 16
Quantity Printed: 38,000,000
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is located 80 to 125 miles off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. It is the only National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. It encompasses 160 square miles and 17 individual reefs and banks.
Flower Garden Banks were first discovered by fishermen in the early 1900s. They gave it the name "flower garden" after the colorful reefs they spotted from their boats. These reefs include a plethora of different species of sponges, corals, and other marine life. Scientists later determined that the corals were likely carried there by wind-driven currents in the Gulf of Mexico. The reefs of Flower Garden Banks were most likely formed from corals carried from the reefs off the coast of Mexico.
One threatened coral species in Flower Garden Banks is elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata). There are two known colonies of these stony coral within the sanctuary. Elkhorn coral is named for its iconic antler-like shape. Like other coral species, it is facing a significant decline in numbers due to climate change, ocean acidification, and human activity. Thankfully, conservation efforts are in place to protect the species, and America's marine sanctuaries play an important part in that preservation.