Hinchinbrook Channel

The area of the Hinchinbrook Channel estuary reporting zone can be defined by the pre-cleared extent of mangrove and saltmarsh remnant vegetation which is characterised by species that require periodic inundation of sea water. This area includes the length of the channel (approximately 45 km) and extends due south along the coastline from the southern mouth of the channel for approximately 20 km, the area also extends west on the mainland for approximately 10 km and east on Hinchinbrook Island for approximately 6 km. The area has numerous coastal tributaries that drain into the channel from the mainland and from Hinchinbrook Island.

The assessment area of riparian extent extends upstream of the Herbert River further than the mangrove and salt marsh communities to the upper tidal limit and includes vegetation types that are more typical of freshwater environments. On Hinchinbrook Island the estuary area is all within National Park. The estuary area on the mainland is predominantly conservation use (Girringun National Park) whilst land uses in the area include forestry and pond aquaculture with some cropping and residential development in the southern reaches on the mainland around the Herbert River. The Hinchinbrook Channel is listed in the Directory of (Nationally) Important Wetlands.

Scroll down for further detailed results for each indicator group.

Grading

gradesa1

very good

gradesb1

good

gradesc1

moderate

gradesd1

poor

gradese1

very poor

gradesnd1

insufficient data

gradesna1

not applicable

Confidence surrounding the data used in the circle diagrams has been assessed using a multi-criteria framework.

confidence

Water quality

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A water quality overall score and grade cannot be provided for the Hinchinbrook Channel in 2014/15 due to insufficient data. Estuarine water quality monitoring commenced early in 2016 for Hinchinbrook Channel estuary and will be available for the next report card.

Habitat and hydrology

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The overall habitat and hydrology grade for the Hinchinbrook Channel estuary could not be determined due to insufficient data. The development of the flow and fish barrier indicators will provide sufficient data for habitat and hydrology to be reported for the Hinchinbrook Channel estuary in future report cards.

The mangrove and saltmarsh extent scored 100 (good) with 4.1 per cent loss from pre-clear to 2013. These results reflect a low level of development within the estuary area. Riparian extent is assessed to the upper tidal limit of the river which extends upstream of the estuary area that is characterised by mangroves and saltmarsh. Thus riparian assessment includes areas that have been cleared for agriculture and other developments. The riparian extent scored 76.9 (moderate) with 21.9 per cent loss from pre-clear to 2013. Seagrass is not currently monitored in the Hinchinbrook Channel and no data is available to report on seagrass condition.

Estuary riparian extent and mangrove and saltmarsh extent are updated every four years and the figures in the pilot report card are the most current. The data for both are due to be updated in 2017/18.

The methods for the flow and fish barrier indicators are currently underdeveloped and will be available for future report cards.

Fish

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The fish index is currently under development and will be available in future report cards.

Further information on the methods used to produce the scores and grades and detailed results can be found here.