Managaha is often referred to as "the Jewel of the CNMI." It is a sand cay located in the Saipan Lagoon. The islet (Managaha is only .028 square miles) and the waters around it are one of CNMI's designated no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Managaha is a highlight of a tourist's visit to Saipan, the island saw close to 300,000 visitors in 2013 alone. The area has cultural significance for the Carolinian community, as it is the burial place of Chief Aghurubw. Ecologically, the island and its surrounding waters represent a wide range of reef habitats.
MMT has 3 monitoring sites around the island, each representing a unique habitat. We have monitoring sites situated at (1) a patch reef to the east of the isle, (2) in the Isopora palifera dominated back reef margin and (3) on the fore-reef slope. The concentrated monitoring effort around Managaha enables MMT to monitor how the MPA is functioning and how we might hope other reefs around the CNMI could look.
Coral cover, a fairly good indicator of reef health, is one of the highlights of the sites around Managaha. The bar graph shows the coral cover at each of the sites to currently be over the average for most reefs in the CNMI (~25 – 30%).