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Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

Located just north of Guam in the western Pacific, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is a three-hundred mile archipelago consisting of 14 islands, with a total land area of 183.5 square miles. The principal inhabited islands are Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The northern, largely uninhabited islands are Farallon de Medinilla, Anatahan, Sariguan, Gudgeon, Alamagan, Pagan, Agrihan, Asuncion, Maug Islands, and Farallon de Pajaro. Saipan is approximately 3,300 miles from Honolulu and 3000 miles from Sydney. The majority of the CNMI's residents live on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan, the capital and largest of the  Northern Mariana Islands.

The Mariana Islands are on the edge of the Philippine Plate. They were formed by underwater volcanoes along the Marianas Trench. The northern islands are high volcanic islands and the southern islands, while volcanic in origin, are nearly all covered with uplifted limestone derived from coral reefs. These southern islands have the oldest and most developed reefs in the CNMI, which are predominantly located along the western (leeward) sides.

Saipan has the most diverse types of coral reefs and associated habitats in the CNMI. A fringing and barrier reef system protects the majority of the beaches along the western and coastal plains. The western side of the island is the most populated and the coral reefs along these areas are negatively affected by human activity. Continuing sediment and nutrient pollution, combined with sporadic stressors such as outbreaks of crown-of - thorns starfish (COTS) and bleaching, affect many of Saipan's western and southeastern reefs.

Coral reef ecosystems in the CNMI are, on the whole, reasonably healthy. However, environmental stressors acting synergitically with anthropogenic stressors, such as nonpoint source pollution and fishing pressure, have clearly affected areas in proximity to the populated southern islands. From a fisheries perspective, the northern islands and more distant banks and reefs appear to be in better condition than those closer to population centers.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands location map

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands location map

Northern Mariana Islands satellite map

Northern Mariana Islands satellite map

Highlights

Potential larval sources, destinations, and self-seeding in the Mariana Archipelago documented using ocean drifters (Journal of Oceanography, 2014)

Publications

CNMI's Coral Reef Management Priorities

CNMI Capacity Assessment Report and Coral Reef Conservation Time Line

Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Report of the Mariana Archipelago: 2003-2007

Coral reef resilience to climate change in Saipan, CNMI; field-based assessments and implications for vulnerability and future management

Environmental factors affecting large-bodied coral reef fish assemblages in the Mariana Archipelago. PLoS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031374

Improving Monitoring and Management of the Saipan Lagoon through the Integration of Ground Surveys with Detailed Habitat Mapping

The Economic Value of the Coral Reefs of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Island Stormwater Practice Design Specifications: A Supplement to the 2006 CNMI and Guam Stormwater Design Manual

Western Pacific Archipelagic Fishery Ecosystem Annual Report for 2012

The Micronesia Challenge

Report on the Status of Marine Protected Areas in Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States. Volume 1: Marine Protected Areas Managed by U.S. States,Territories, and Commonwealths. NOAA Technical Memorandum CRCP 2 February 2007

Executive orders, Secretarial Orders, and Congressional Acts

Potential larval sources, destinations, and self-seeding in the Mariana Archipelago documented using ocean drifters (Journal of Oceanography, 2014)

State of The Reefs Report (SOTR)

The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2008.

The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005.

The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2002.

Local Action Strategy

CNMI Local Action Strategy Factsheet

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Three-Year Coral Reef Protection Local Action Strategy (2003)

Watershed Management Plans

Laolao Bay Conservation Action Plan

Talakhaya/Sabana Conservation Action Plan

Garapan Watershed Conservation Action Plan

Metadata, Data and Publications Search in CoRIS

Search the CoRIS Geoportal for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands metadata, data and publications

ReefBase Coral Bleaching Reports

Select "Micronesia" in the Region window and "Northern Mariana Islands" in the Country window.

Near-Real Time Data

Coral Reef Watch Satellite Monitoring

Coral Reef Watch - Mariana Islands and Guam Virtual Stations

The Global Temperature-Salinity Profile Program

NOAA/National Weather Service - Data for Guam & the Northern Marianas

USGS Water Resources - Data for the Northern Mariana Islands

NOAA CO-OPS - Tide Data

Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON)

NOAA Tidal Predictions - Northern Marianas Islands

National Data Buoy Center

Other Data

Shallow-water Benthic Habitat Maps of American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

Pacific Islands Benthic Habitat Mapping Center - CNMI data

Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) Atlas

Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) Land Cover Data - Commonwealth of the Northern Maiana Islands

Education and Outreach

CNMI Marine Monitoring Team

Our LaoLao Campaign

CNMI Coral Reef Initiative:

Coastal Resources Management
http://www.crm.gov.mp/

http://www.crm.gov.mp/programs/monitoring/how.asp

CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife - Education Section

Micronesia Coral Reef Initiative

The World Factbook - Northern Mariana Islands

Marine Protected Areas/Marine Managed Areas

Marine Protected Areas of the United States Home Page

The Marine Protected Areas Inventory

Federal MPA Legislation

Marine Federal Areas Fact Sheet

Executive order 13158: Marine Protected Areas

Bird Island Marine Sanctuary

Bird Island Sea Cucumber Reserve

Bird Island Wildlife Conservation Area

Forbidden Island Marine Sanctuary

Laulau Bay Sea Cucumber Reserve

Lighthouse Reef Trochus Reserve

Managaha Marine Conservation Area

Marianas Trench Marine National Monument

Northern Marianas Islands Conservation Areas

Sasanhaya Fish Reserve

Tank Beach Trochus Reserve