Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hide Alert Show Alert

Stay up-to-date on operations adjustments and temporary closure of TPWD offices, state parks, recreation facilities and water access points due to COVID-19. Please follow guidance from local authorities, Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

See Temporary Closures and Adjustments Boat Registration Office Status State Parks Alert Map

Gulf Waters

Coastal Habitats

Gulf Waters

Gulf Waters

Gulf Waters reach clear to the tropics

The Gulf of Mexico stretches from the barrier islands of Texas across the continental shelf to the horizon and beyond. Under this expanse of water, the bottom is mostly sandy mud, washed into the Gulf by coastal rives such as the Mississippi and Rio Grande.

The rivers also carry nutrients which settle to the bottom of the Gulf. These nutrients feed both the animals that live buried in the mud and those that live on the few rocky outcrops and submerged banks that are the only hard bottoms off the coast of Texas.

On the borderline

The Gulf of Mexico is bordered by temperate Texas on one side and tropical Mexico on another. These two climates meet each other and overlap somewhere in the offshore waters of the Gulf.

From time to time when the currents are right and the winters mild, parrotfish, angelfish, spiny lobsters and other usually tropical animals are found in the Gulf off the Texas coast.

Animals of the Gulf Waters

Select a coastal habitat: