The results presented in the Report Card are divided into four environments (freshwater, estuarine, inshore marine and offshore marine) covering seven zones.
The zones are:
Each zone is scored for:
Through this report, we aim to improve the management of our waterways to benefit our region. For more information on how the Report Card is developed and in-depth results see the Methods Report for the Townsville Dry Tropics Annual Report Card and the Townsville Dry Tropics 2018-2019 Report Card Result Reports.
The data used to prepare the Report Card is sourced from our Partners and includes industry and community data, ports monitoring and existing Townsville City Council, Queensland and Australian government-funded monitoring. Compilation of this data is a careful and considered process and takes some time.
In preparation for a report card, data needs to be collated and validated and undergoes comprehensive analysis. Before it is ready to be released in the report card, this preparation and analysis takes three to nine months, depending on the data set. Time is also needed to review the results and reports including thorough peer review by both the Technical Working Group and the Reef Independent Science Panel.
The Partnership is committed to minimising the time between data collection and report card release, to improve the timeliness and relevance of the report card.
The 2017-2018 Pilot Report Card was the very first report card released by the Townsville Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters. Since the release of the Pilot Report Card last year, the Partnership has been working hard to improve the readability of the report card, in addition to improving the scoring technique and including new data.
Changes in the 2018-2019 Report Card include:
1. Simplifying report card the ‘coasters’. We have simplified the coasters to make the Report Card grades easier to understand.
2. Comparing habitat scores to Management targets rather than Pre-European/pre-development targets. The Partnership decided to score against management targets to better allow the community and managers to assess whether management actions within the community are improving the state of the environment. In the 2017-2018 Pilot Report Card, the habitat extent of freshwater and estuary habitat was compared to Pre-European/pre-development targets. In contrast, the 2018-2019 Report card was compared to management targets. Management targets are designed to protect the ecological value of an ecosystem, while also considering the socio-economic values of the region. Pre-European/pre-development targets represent what the environment may have been like before European settlement. In urban environments, often pre-European/pre-development targets are unachievable due to the social-economic requirements of an existing urban centre and the extent of change resulting from development. Thus, scoring against pre-development targets means that areas will often have poor scores with limited ways of improving the score. A comparison of the baseline data used for the two report cards is shown in the table below. For information on water quality targets for the Townsville region, see the details here.
3. Inclusion of new data which incorporates:
Grey areas indicate there was no data available for the indicator to be scored. This is because either:
The Partnership is committed to filling the gaps in the data. Greater information on the region will provide a better understanding of the ecological and socio-economic condition of the region.
Short, pulse events, such as floods, cyclones and other impact events can severely impact waterway ecosystem health. Environments that are relatively healthy and with low or no day-to-day pollution inputs have higher resilience and so can more readily recover from these events.
For example, in the 2019 Report Card, the results show that the flood impacts to the seagrass meadows in Cleveland Bay appear to be considerably less than originally expected. This is likely due to several years of good growing conditions prior to the flood, which provided inherent resilience to the impacts of the flood. As a result, seagrass biomass (the total amount of seagrass) declined but the overall area of seagrass meadows remained above the long-term average.
However, it is still possible there are long term impacts that are not yet recorded. Continued monitoring is needed to assess future waterway health.
For more information on seagrass monitoring in Cleveland Bay undertaken for the Port of Townsville, click here.
Copyright © 2018 Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters - All Rights Reserved. Images kindly donated by Tourism and Events Queensland/Khy Orchard; Tourism and Events Queensland/Budd Photography; Tourism and Events Queensland/Achim Wetz; Townsville Enterprise Limited/Megan MacKinnon; and Alana Lorimer. All Catchment stories are sourced courtesy of WetlandInfo (wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au).