The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a United States commonwealth within the Mariana Archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. CNMI is comprised of 14 islands with a total land area just under 184 square miles. The geographic scope for this Watershed Assessment includes the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, the most populous and largest islands in CNMI and where most of the economic activity occurs. Focusing on these three islands allows the WA to most effectively address CNMI’s need for community resilience, which aims to ensure critical systems can resist stressors and rebound quickly from shocks or disturbances. The other islands are mostly uninhabited due to limitations like access to education, commercial ports, infrastructure, power, water, food, and natural hazard threats.
To counter vulnerability to weather and water related hazards, increasing resiliency through social, economic, and environmentally sustainable development is imperative and can be accomplished by planning for natural hazards, protecting infrastructure, and conserving resources. This watershed assessment, focusing on the three most populous islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, envisions a future CNMI where residents can safely weather storms and rebound with revitalized infrastructure to provide improved water supply and sanitation, reliable energy supplies and distribution, and sustainable localized agriculture and economic development. It is a future where marine and terrestrial ecosystems are restored and used sustainably, and biodiversity and cultural resources are preserved while action is taken to combat climate change.