Mossman Basin

The Mossman Basin has an area of 479km2 with Mossman (approximately 1,700 people) and Port Douglas (approximately 3,200 people) being the major population centres. A substantial number of visitors are attracted to the Mossman Basin with Port Douglas in particular being a popular holiday destination.

Steep mountains and hills dominate the Mossman basin and the major waterways consist of the Mossman River and the Mowbray River both of which drain the forested mountain ranges. A number of smaller waterways including Grant’s Creek, Tin Creek and Hartley’s Creek also drain from the mountain ranges into the coastal waters. The narrow coastal plain at the foot of the mountain ranges is predominantly cleared and developed for agriculture (dominated by sugarcane) and urban land uses. There are six National Parks within the Mossman Basin.

The basin consists of 76% natural/minimal use lands, 3% grazing, 10% sugarcane, 4% urban and 6% other land uses. The other uses include many tree crops and there is potential for expanding cropping and horticulture in the basin including the production of cocoa.

The overall grade for the Mossman basin is moderate (C). Only habitat and hydrology contributed to this grade.

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very good








very poor


insufficient data


not applicable

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


Water quality

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An overall water quality score and grade cannot be provided for the Mossman basin in 2014/15 due to insufficient data.

Habitat and hydrology

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The overall habitat and hydrology grade for the Mossman basin in 2014/15 is moderate.

The habitat modification score of 100 (very good) is comprised of an impoundment length score of 100 (very good) indicating that less than 1 per cent of the total length of the waterways with a stream order of 3 or higher are impounded by artificial structures. The fish barrier indicator method is still being developed and will be available in future report cards.

Riparian extent for the Mossman Basin scored 100 (very good) with 11.5 per cent loss from pre-clear extent to 2013, it is expected the uplands would generally have better extent due to protected areas and less development and less extent in the lowlands due to development and land use.

Wetland extent scored 21.1 (very poor) with 58.8 per cent loss of palustrine (freshwater) wetlands from pre-clear to 2013. These results reflect a high level of historic loss due to development.

Freshwater riparian extent and wetland 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 invasive weeds indicators are currently under development and will be available for future report cards.


Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

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.