An area of land where surface water runs into smaller channels, creeks or rivers and discharges into a common point and may include many sub-basins or sub-catchments. Also known as river basin or catchment.


The variability among living organisms from all sources (including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part). It includes diversity within species and between species, and diversity of ecosystems.

Chlorophyll-a (as an indicator)

A measure of overall phytoplankton biomass. It is widely considered a useful proxy to measure nutrient availability and the productivity of a system.


In the context of the pilot report card, climate refers to both climate variability and climate change.

Cumulative Impact

The impact on the environment resulting from the effects of one or more impacts, and the interactions between those impacts, added to other past, present and reasonably foreseeable future pressures.


An overarching cause of change in the environment (Australia State of the Environment Report 2011).


A dynamic complex of plant, animal and microorganism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit (EPBC Act).

Fish Barriers (as an indicator)

Fish barriers relate to any barriers which prevent or delay connectivity between key habitats which has the potential to impact migratory fish populations, decrease the diversity of freshwater fish communities and reduce the condition of aquatic ecosystems (Moore, 2015).

Fish (as a fauna indicator)

Fish community health is assessed and included in the ecosystem health assessments (coasters).

Flow (as an indicator)

Flow relates to the degree that the natural river flows have been modified in the Region’s waterways. This is an important indicator due to its relevance to ecosystem and waterway health.

Impoundment Length

A sub-indicator used in the ‘in-stream habitat modification’ indicator for freshwater basins in the Region. This index reports on the proportion (%) of the linear length of the main river channel inundated at the Full Supply Level of artificial in-stream structures such as dams and weirs.


A measure of one component of an environmental dataset (e.g. particulate nitrogen).

Indicator Category

Generated by one or more related indicators (e.g. nutrients made up of particulate nitrogen and particulate phosphorus).


Generated by indicator categories (e.g. water quality made up of nutrients, water clarity, chlorophyll-a and pesticides).

In-stream Habitat Modification (as an indicator)

This Basin indicator category is made up of two indicators; fish barriers and impoundment length (see relevant glossary entries).


Independent Science Panel (ISP) established under the Reef  2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan, who have independently reviewed the methodologies involved in the report card assessments.


Local Government Area

Macroalgae (cover)

An indicator used in part to assess coral health. Macroalgae is a collective term used for seaweed and other benthic (attached to the bottom) marine algae that are generally visible to the naked eye. Increased macroalgae on a coral reef is often undesirable, indicating reef degradation (Diaz-Pulido and McCook, 2008 ).


The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Marine Monitoring Program (MMP), which provided water quality data for the Central and Whitsunday reporting zones in the report card.


Natural Resource Management.

Overall Score

The overall scores for each reporting zone used in the report card are generated by an index or an aggregation of indices (refer specific glossary entries).

Pesticides (as an indicator)

Pesticides includes measurements of the concentration of herbicides and insecticides in the water column that impact on plant photosynthesis (food production). The freshwater and estuary pesticide indicator currently assesses 22 pesticides, and 19 pesticides for the inshore marine pesticide indicator (which will increase to 22 in the future).  Pesticides can impact aquatic plants and animals, so it is important to measure them in our waterways.

Riparian Extent (as an indicator)

An indicator used in the assessments of both basin and estuarine zones using mapping resources to determine the extent of the vegetated interface between land and waterways in the Region.


Defined as responsible and sustainable use and protection of our water resources, waterways and catchments to enhance the social, cultural, environmental and economic values of the Region.


Commercial activities that provide transport, accommodation or services to people who are visiting the Region principally for enjoyment.


Technical Working Group.


Those aspects or attributes of an environment that make it of significance.


Freshwater creeks and rivers, estuarine environments and wetlands within the five nominated basins in the Region, and the inshore/offshore marine environment.


Water Quality Improvement Plans. These documents provide an ecosystem-based approach to integrated water cycle management supported by science. The Mackay-Whitsunday WQIP 2014-2021 can be accessed here.