Inshore Central

The northern boundary of the Central inshore reporting zone area extends north-east from Cape Grafton just south of Cairns to the offshore boundary and includes enclosed coastal, open coastal and mid-shelf waters. The southern boundary of the Central zone extends due eastward from the mainland just south of the Moresby River at Double Point to the boundary of the offshore waters. The major rivers discharging into the central zone are the Mulgrave River the Russell River and Johnstone River. The Moresby River discharges into the southern coastal area of the Central zone. Numerous smaller waterways drain coastal sub catchments that discharge into the Central zone. Water quality in the Central 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 Tully/Murray, which are carried north by prevailing currents. The area includes Fitzroy Island to the north, the High Island Group some 12km north-east of Deeral, the Frankland Island group approximately 16 km due east of Deeral and Normanby Island located between the High Island group and the Frankland Island group. These islands provide fringing shallow water environments that support coral reef ecosystems.

Scroll down for further detailed results for each indicator group.

Grading

gradesa1

very good

gradesb1

good

gradesc1

moderate

gradesd1

poor

gradese1

very poor

insufficient data

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

confidence

Water quality

Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

The overall water quality grade in 2015-16 for the Central inshore zone is ‘good’ (64.5).

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 or assessments of pollutant loads entering the marine environment. The results are derived from in-situ water samples taken at ten locations and from water quality loggers at five locations from inshore waters extending from sites at Fitzroy Island in the north to sites at the Frankland Island Group in the south. In addition passive pesticide samplers are located at High Island and Normanby Island.

The water clarity score of 40.5 (‘poor’) in the Central zone is comprised of total suspended solids (‘moderate’) and turbidity (‘good’). The lower water clarity grade is due to the procedures used for aggregating indicators from the range of different sites.

Nutrients scored 61.1 (‘good’) in the Central zone, comprising of ‘poor’ for oxidised nitrogen (NOx), a ‘good’ for particulate nitrogen (PN) and a ‘good’ for particulate phosphorus (PP).

The chlorophyll a score in the Central zone 62.6 (‘good’).

Using the Photosystem II herbicide equivalent concentrations method, pesticides received a score of 93.7 (‘very good’).

The water quality index has remained ‘moderate’ in the Central zone since 2014-15 with water clarity declining from ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ and nutrients increasing from ‘moderate’ to ‘good’.

Coral

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The overall coral grade in 2015-16 for the Central inshore zone is 46.41 (‘moderate’).

The coral grade is comprised of the density of juvenile hard corals score of 38 (‘poor’), the macroalgae cover score of 56 (‘moderate’), the coral cover score of 42 (‘moderate’), the change in coral cover score of 63 (‘good’), and the coral community composition score of 33 (‘poor’).

Physical damage including loss of coral cover occurred at most reefs in the Central zone during a sequence of tropical cyclones since 2006. In addition to the loss of coral cover was an increase in the cover of macroalgae at several reefs despite the water quality being scored as ‘good’ (Thompson et al. 2016).

Since 2014-15 the coral index in the Central zone has remained as a ‘moderate’ grade but the score has declined substantially from 60.8 to 46.4. Further information about recent changes in the coral index for the central zone are available from the latest Marine Monitoring Program coral report (Thompson et al. 2017).

Seagrass

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There is no current seagrass monitoring undertaken in the Central zone and consequently there is no seagrass grade available for the Central zone.

Fish

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

References
Thompson A, Costello P, Davidson J, Logan M, Coleman G, Gunn K, Schaffelke B (2016) Marine Monitoring Program. Annual Report for inshore coral reef monitoring: 2014 to 2015. Report for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville.133 pp.
Thompson, A., Costello, P., Davidson, J., Logan, M., Coleman, G., Gunn, K., Schaffelke, B., 2017, Marine Monitoring Program. Annual Report for inshore coral reef monitoring: 2015 to 2016. Report for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville.133 pp.

 

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