The Report Card assesses the condition of waterways in the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac region and is usually released in July each year. We integrate a range of data from different monitoring programs to provide grades for freshwater, estuary, and marine environments, as well as human dimensions indicators including cultural heritage value, litter pressures, and urban water management.

By understanding how climate, population, development and land use affect our waterways at a regional level, we can inform management responses and actions tailored to our local area. We strive to provide a complete picture of regional waterway health.

For more information on the Report Card, check out our extensive FAQs.

Our latest Report Card was released in July 2023, and reports on waterway condition between July 2021 and June 2022. You can read the Report Card below, or download a pdf version.

If you would like physical copies of the Report Card for your business, school or organisation, please enquire at info@healthyriverstoreef.org.au.

Key Findings

  • Freshwater and Estuaries: Overall grades remain relatively stable across our freshwater basins and estuaries, with only two grade changes at Gregory River and Carmila Creek Estuary.
  • Pesticides: The Don River Freshwater Basin scored ‘poor’ this year for the first time since the Report Card’s inception. The unusual finding was due to concentrations of Metsulfuron-methyl, a herbicide generally associated with urban use.
  • Marine: Indicator scores were similar to last year, resulting in no overall grade changes for the four inshore marine zones. However, the Southern Inshore Marine Zone did receive the greatest score increase due to improvements in coral and seagrass. Water clarity scores also improved across all four zones.
  • Seagrass: Seagrass in the Central Inshore Zone improved from ‘moderate’ to ‘good’ driven in part by the inclusion of a new meadow offshore from Mackay Harbour. Surveys here have shown a general increasing trend across all seagrass indicators since monitoring began in 2017. Seagrass in the Southern Zone also improved from ‘moderate’ to ‘good’.
  • Coral: Coral scores improved in every inshore zone, except for the Northern Inshore Marine Zone. Although the grade for coral remains ‘poor’ for the Whitsunday Inshore Zone, the score continues to improve for the second year in a row. In the Southern Zone, coral scores indicate recovery from the 2022 heatwave, with hard coral cover increasing at four of the five reefs since last year.

Technical Results and Methods

See the Results Report for detailed results for each indicator and site, and the 2022 Methods Report for detailed sampling and scoring methodology.

2022 Results

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2022 Methods

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Looking for our Interactive Results? We are currently migrating our nine year’s of data to a new program to bring you a new and improved dashboard.