Tully Basin

The main urban centre in the Tully basin is the Tully township which is located inland and has a population of 2,436. Several localities, including Hull Heads, Tully Heads, and Mission Beach, are located on the coast.

The Tully Basin is steep in its upper areas which are primarily occupied by tropical rainforest and sclerophyll forests (largely in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area), while the coastal floodplain has largely been cleared and drained for agricultural purposes. Streams emerge from the coastal mountain range with high velocities and volumes resulting from rainfall events. Koombooloomba Dam is located in the upper catchment and is used for power generation. Wetlands listed in the Directory of (Nationally) Important Wetlands include Tully River-Murray River floodplains, Edmund Kennedy Wetlands and Licuala Palm Forest.

The Tully Basin has an area of 1,685 km2 and has a high proportion of natural/minimal use lands (75%). The remaining area is comprised of 12% sugarcane, 4% bananas, 5% grazing, 2% forestry, 1% other crops, 1% urban and 3% other land uses

The overall grade for the Tully basin is moderate (C). Water quality and habitat and hydrology contributed to this grade.

Scroll down for further detailed results for each indicator group.



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

Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

The overall water quality grade in 2014/15 for the Tully basin is ‘moderate’.

Water quality grades are based on aquatic ecosystem guidelines for protection of freshwater systems, and are not based on load reduction targets for the marine environment. The results are derived from the end of catchment monitoring site at Euramo, capturing 86 per cent of the basin.

The sediment score of 100 (very good) is comprised of a total suspended solids (TSS) score of 100 (very good) indicating that the annual median and 80 per cent of monthly medians of TSS comply with guideline values.

Nutrients scored 79.67 (moderate) in the Tully Basin, comprising of a DIN (dissolved inorganic nitrogen) score of 57.34 (poor) and FRP (filterable reactive phosphorus) score of 100 (good) indicating that the annual median of FRP complies with guideline values.

Habitat and hydrology

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The overall habitat and hydrology grade for the Tully Basin in 2014/15 is ‘moderate’.

The habitat modification score of 93.5 (moderate) is comprised of the impoundment length score of 93.5 (moderate) with 4.6 per cent of the total length of the waterways with a stream order of 3 or higher impounded by artificial structures. Koombooloomba Dam is the largest impoundment in the basin. The fish barrier indicator method is still being developed and will be available in future report cards.

Riparian extent for the Tully basin scored 100 (good) with 9 per cent loss from pre-clear extent to 2013. It is expected that the majority of loss is in the lowlands due to development and land use.

Wetland extent scored 21.0 (very poor) with 59.0 per cent loss of palustrine (freshwater) wetlands from pre-clear to 2013. These results reflect a high level of historic loss due to development. Wetland losses in future reporting periods will be minimal.

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.