In News, Report Card

Latest results snapshot

Carlos and Julie check out the water in Mackay.

Below is a brief summary of some of the key findings from the latest waterway health scores, released Thursday 12 December 2019.
Note: Results reflect the period from July 2016 – June 2017.

Please visit our results page to view full details.

The ups

  • Water quality in most estuaries, except for Sandy and Carmila Creek estuaries, was in Good condition.
  • Good water quality scores in the estuary systems suggest that water quality returned to pre-cyclone conditions soon after the event. The region’s estuaries are short systems that experience large tidal ranges, so that following large rainfall events pollutants are normally flushed out of the estuaries rapidly.
  • Four out of the five reported basins were in a Moderate condition, graded a C.
  • The Don basin scored Very Good for pesticides.
  • Offshore water quality was in very good condition for the fourth report card in a row.
  • Marine debris clean ups were reported in the Isaac LGA for the first time – on South Percy, Avoid Island, and Digby Island. Most of the marine debris from these clean ups were plastic and were sourced from the sea.

Filling data gaps

  • New data not previously available reveals insight into the Don basin and the Proserpine basins. This is an important step towards filling the gaps and improving the understanding of water quality in the Mackay-Whitsunday Region.
  • A monitoring program has now been funded and established for water quality, coral and seagrass in the southern inshore marine zone. The first scores in this zone will be for water quality and will be available in the next report card.
  • Adding to our knowledge demonstrates the Partnership’s commitment to improving the region’s report card by filling data gaps and subsequently providing a better understanding of the ecological condition of the region’s local ecosystems.

The downs

  • The Pioneer basin dropped from a C grade to a D grade due to decreases in water quality from a combination of nutrients and pesticides.
  • There was a drop in water quality in the O’Connell basin from Good to Moderate, driven primarily by the pesticide indicator.
  • The Plane basin (south of Mackay) received a Very Poor score for pesticides for the fourth consecutive year.
  • In the Whitsunday and Central (Mackay) inshore zones, there was a drop in overall condition from Moderate to Poor, driven by declines in water quality, coral and seagrass condition.
  • It is possible that the water quality scores for the inshore zones underestimate the full impacts of Cyclone Debbie as turbidity loggers at some sites were lost or damaged due to the cyclone.
  • Marine debris clean up effort across the region was reduced in the 16/17 period compared to 15/16. The overwhelming majority of debris collected from our beaches and islands is still made up of plastic, with around half coming from the land in populated areas, and half coming from the sea.

For full results online, please visit our website www.healthyriverstoreef.org.au/report-card-results

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