The absence of strong waves is necessary for mangrove coasts to form and survive. Mangroves favor conditions of tidal submergence, low coastal relief, saline or brackish water, abundant fine sediment supply, and low wave energy.
The Gulf of Mexico is a calmer basin than the Atlantic. Thus, the calmer wave climate has encouraged the growth of mangrove coasts. Due to the lack of strong storms centered within the Gulf, there is little or no swell reaching Gulf shorelines, with the notable exception of swell from remote tropical systems. Hurricanes are the primary source of extreme waves in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hurricanes can inflict serious damage to mangrove coasts, but these coasts can also protect upland developments from flooding. The low-energy conditions that prevail in the Gulf of Mexico allow mangrove coasts to recover from damages sustained from hurricane waves.