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.

Scroll down for further detailed results for each indicator group.



very good








very poor

insufficient data

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 2015-16 for the Tully basin is ‘good’.

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% of the basin.

The sediment score is comprised of a total suspended solids (TSS) score of 80.8 (‘good’) indicating that the annual median of TSS concentrations complied with guideline values.

Nutrients scored 57.5 (‘moderate’) in the Tully basin, comprising of a DIN (dissolved inorganic nitrogen) score of 33.2 (‘poor’) and FRP (filterable reactive phosphorus) score of 81.8 (‘very good’) indicating that the annual median and at least 80% of monthly medians of FRP concentrations complied with guideline values.

Using the ms-PAF method, pesticides received a moderate risk category with 6. 1% of species affected in the waterways of the Tully basin. This resulted in a pesticide grade of ‘moderate’ for the basin.

Compared to 2014-15 the water quality index for the Tully basin remained ‘good’ but decreased from 69.5 to 65.0. The change was driven in part by a decrease in score for TSS and ms-PAF.

Habitat and hydrology

Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

The overall habitat and hydrology grade for the Tully basin in 2015-16 is ‘moderate’.

The habitat modification score of 57.1 (‘moderate’) is comprised of the impoundment length score of 57.1 (‘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 81.0 (‘very good’) with 9% 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 17.2 (‘very poor’) with 59% 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.

Habitat modification, riparian extent and wetland extent are updated every four years and have not changed since 2014-15. The data for riparian and wetland extent are due to be updated in 2018.

The invasive weeds indicator is new for the 2015-16 period and scored 81.0 (‘very good’) in the Tully basin.

The habitat and hydrology index score and grade differed between 2014-15 and 2015-16 due to the introduction of the invasive weeds indicator.

The method for the flow indicator is 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.