Our latest Report Card rates the health of waterways in our region, based on data collected between July 2020 and July 2021.

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Key Results

  • This is the fourth year of monitoring water quality and seagrass quality and 2020-2021 Report showing both to be in ‘good’ condition
  • Water quality within the Black and Ross freshwater basins were graded ‘good’ with a slight increase in scores on previous years.
  • Water quality within the Black and Ross estuarine zones were graded ‘good’ and ‘very good’ respectively and were similar to previous years.
  • Inshore marine water quality in Cleveland Bay and Halifax Bay were graded as ‘good’ with a decrease in water quality on previous years in Cleveland Bay.
  • 33 freshwater fish species were found in the Dry Tropics Region with three new indigenous species identified (Giant Mottled Eel, Greenback Gudgeon, and Scaleless Goby).
  • Inshore Coral in both bays declined slightly from the previous year and was graded ‘poor’ in Cleveland Bay and ‘moderate’ in Halifax Bay. Coral cover increased in both bays; however, this was outweighed by a decrease in the juvenile density and macroalgae indicators.
  • Offshore coral improved slightly on previous years, with low levels of bleaching observed in mid-2020, a legacy of the 2020 summer heat wave, and no active crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks were recorded.
  • Seagrass in the Cleveland Bay area has recovered from the 2019 monsoon event with every indicator recording a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ grade (except for Shelly Beach which was ‘moderate’). A meadow within Cleveland Bay has started expanding into deeper waters indicating sufficient water clarity for deeper growth.
  • Litter was collected at 12 sites ranging in grade from ‘very high pressure’ to ‘slight pressure’.  Sites with ‘very high pressure’ were remote locations on the east coast of Orpheus Island and was largely rubbish that had washed up on the beach.
Dry Tropics for Healthy Waters FAQ