Inshore Palm Islands

The northern boundary of the Palm Island inshore reporting zone extends east from the north-west bank of the Seaforth Channel mouth, just south of Hinchinbrook Island, to the offshore boundary and includes enclosed coastal, open coastal and mid-shelf waters.

The southern boundary of the Palm Island zone extends eastward from the southern boundary of the Herbert River Basin to just east of the Palm Island Group and runs north to the Wet Tropics NRM marine region boundary at the junction with the offshore waters boundary.

The major river discharging into the Palm Island zone is the Herbert River. Several sub-catchments, including the Seymour River, also discharge into the Palm Island inshore zone.

Water quality in the Palm Island zone is affected by plumes of sediments, nutrients and pesticides from rivers discharging directly into the zone but also from the plumes of southern rivers, particularly the Burdekin River the mouth of which is approximately 180 km to the south-east.

The area includes the Palm Island group located approximately 17 km east of the mainland. The Palm Island Group includes Orpheus Island, Pelorus Island, Fantome Island, Palm Island, and Havannah Island. These islands provide fringing shallow water environments that support coral reef ecosystems and reef seagrass meadows.

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 Palm Island inshore zone is ‘good’ (74.9).

Water quality grades are based on water quality guideline trigger values established for the waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park that, if exceeded, identify the need for management responses.

The guidelines are not targets and are not an assessments of pollutant loads entering the marine environment. The results are derived from in-situ water samples and water quality loggers at several inshore locations and a single passive contaminant sampler located Lucinda jetty.

The water clarity score of 76.8 (good) in the Palm Island zone is comprised of total suspended solids (good) and turbidity (good) indicators.

Nutrients scored 72.0 (good) in the Palm Island zone, comprising of ‘very good’ for oxidised nitrogen (NOx), a ‘moderate’ for particulate nitrogen (PN) and a ‘moderate’ for particulate phosphorus (PP).

The chlorophyll a score in the Palm Island zone is 57.9 (moderate).

Using the Photosystem II herbicide equivalent concentrations method, contaminants received a score of 93.0 (very good).


Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

The overall coral grade in 2014/15 for the Palm Island inshore zone is 43.2 (moderate).

The coral grade is comprised of the density of juvenile hard corals score of 58 (moderate), the macroalgae cover score of 36 (poor), the coral cover score of 30 (poor), the change in coral cover score of 43 (moderate), and the coral community composition score of 50 (moderate).

Improvements in reef condition through to 2014-2015 are due to slight improvement in the density of juvenile corals and the rate of coral cover increase along with a gradual return of species sensitive to poor water quality. These combined observations suggest a reduction in the chronic pressures associated with water quality in recent years during which inflows from the catchment have been low.

This explanatory information of coral condition in the Palm Island Zone is based on the Marine Monitoring Program report by Thompson et al. (2016).


Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

There is no current seagrass monitoring undertaken in the Palm Island Zone and consequently there is no seagrass grade available for the pilot report card in the Palm Island Zone.


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.