The Gulf of Mexico watershed is at the heart of our nation’s outdoor legacy, where 40% of all North American migrating waterfowl and shorebirds use the Mississippi Flyway. The Gulf Coast, from Texas to Florida, is also home to more than 130 federally protected species, most of which are endangered. Restoring this vital area will ensure America continues to thrive well into and beyond the 21st century

The Gulf of Mexico’s coastal zone and its interior watershed contain the most productive aquatic and wetland habitats in North America. These aquatic habitats include a complex array of marshes, swamps, rivers, seagrass beds and open-water habitats that are critically important to meet the life cycle requirements of many fish and wildlife species that reside, winter or migrate throughout the Gulf watershed.

Our Species

California least tern flying. A plain, dark blue sky in the background.

Least terns are the smallest member of the gull and tern family. They are approximately 9" in length. Unlike gulls, terns will dive into the water for small fish. The body of least terns is predominately gray and white, with black streaking on the head. Least terns have a forked tail and narrow...

A greenish brown sea turtle laying on the beach

The Kemp's ridley turtle is the smallest of the sea turtles, with adults reaching about 2 feet in length and weighing up to 100 pounds. The adult Kemp's ridley has an oval carapace that is almost as wide as it is long and is usually olive-gray in color. The carapace has five pairs of costal...

FWS Focus
A green sea turtle swims along the bottom of the reef.

The green sea turtle grows to a maximum size of about 4 feet and a weight of 440 pounds. It has a heart-shaped shell, small head, and single-clawed flippers. Color is variable. Hatchlings generally have a black carapace, white plastron, and white margins on the shell and limbs. The adult...

FWS Focus