In river basins (also sometimes called catchments), the Mackay-Whitsunday report card reports pollutants, including Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN), sediment, and pesticides as one index, ‘water quality’, based on the annual concentration of these pollutants in the waterways. This is different to the GBR report card which reports these same pollutants as estimates of the annual average reduction in human caused DIN, sediment and pesticide loads at the end of catchments (an annual load delivered to the marine environment), which is based on modelling. Catchment loads are in indication of the mass of pollutants entering the GBR over time, where as measuring the concentration of pollutants via water quality sampling gives a snapshot of waterway health at that one location at that time. Even though the same pollutants are being reported in catchments, the two report cards are not reporting them in the same way and therefore they cannot be expected to match, nor can they be directly compared.

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