NIMO: Goal is to bring back thriving islands

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The Northern Islands Mayor’s Office has been working on improvements to the Northern Islands to incorporate civilization while also maintaining the islands’ purity.

During the Rotary Club of Saipan weekly meeting last Tuesday Kelly Tenorio, Northern Islands Mayor’s Office project coordinator and Northern Island resident, informed the Rotarians of what the Northern Islands Mayor’s Office has been doing over the past year and what they hope to accomplish.

“The mayor’s office mission, now, is to bring back our islands that were thriving many years ago,” she said.

Tenorio said that part of her office’s mission is to reach out to the community and to CNMI schools in order to inform other people that there are islands beyond Saipan, Tinian, and Rota that serve as natural resources and that the entire Marianas are the stewards and the guardians of these gems.

“We have to keep this rolling in [an ecological] way…we have eight types of coconut trees out there and the islands are full of them…we have also transferred birds up to an island called Guguan so we have resources there…in case we need to go back and get some of these birds in the future,” she said.

As of last year, the Northern Islands Mayor’s Office has done a lot such as establishing a village and an electricity source in Pagan, Agrihan, and now Alamagan.

One of the most recent completed projects was bringing back clean water to the people living on the Northern Islands.

“I think that is the most important. There are a lot of water catchments out there but they were all dirty and no one has been taking care of them so it took us quite a while to clean them up, fix them up, and to get a good clean water supply going…Now I am proud to say that each of those islands have those today,” she said.

The mayor’s office has also cleaned up all the garbage that accumulated on the islands, sent them back to Saipan, and recycled them. “…Each of the islands are now healthy and clean,” she said.

The goal is to get the residents who use to inhabit the island and had to leave, to want to return home. Now, the Northern Islands Mayor’s Office is working on a way to ensure a more efficient way of traveling to the Northern Islands

“We are also working on getting the Pagan airstrip landing cleaned up… we are not only wanting to bring them back but we are also wanting to teach them how to live off of the island,” she said.

Tenorio said that the only form of transportation that would be allowed in the Northern Islands would be an aircraft or boat.

According to Adriana Cotero, KSPN News 2 anchor and visitor to the Northern Islands, it was refreshing to be one with nature like the residents of the Northern Islands do.

“When I was up there, it was really life changing, it’s just one of those moments you can really pinpoint in your life. Not only did I experience something new but I realized a lot about myself as well…you really get to know yourself out there,” she said.

Currently, there are two people living on Agrihan, two people living on Pagan, and there are eight individuals living on Alamagan.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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