Inshore North

The northern boundary of the North inshore reporting zone extends north-eastward from the mainland just north of the Bloomfield River along the boundary of the Wet Tropics NRM marine region to the boundary of the offshore waters and includes enclosed coastal, open coastal and mid-shelf waters. The southern boundary of the North zone extends north-east from Cape Grafton just south of Cairns to the offshore boundary. The major rivers discharging into the North zone are the Daintree River, the Mossman River and the Barron River. The Bloomfield River discharges at the northern most extent and Smiths Creek discharges through Trinity Inlet at the southernmost extent. Numerous smaller waterways draining the catchments of the often steep eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range also discharge into the North zone. Water quality in the  North 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 Russell/Mulgrave and the Tully/Murray, which are carried north by prevailing currents. The area includes Snapper Island, some 3.7 km east of the Daintree River mouth, the low Isles 11km south-east of Snapper Island, and Green Island, approximately 27 km north east of Cairns. These islands provide fringing shallow water environments that support coral reef ecosystems and intertidal reef seagrass meadows. Subtidal and intertidal coastal seagrass meadows also occur close to the mainland including Cairns Harbour and Yule Point approximately 10km south of Port Douglas.

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 North inshore zone is ‘good’ (79.9).

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 or an assessments of pollutant loads entering the marine environment. The results are derived from in-situ water samples taken at six locations from inshore waters extending from sites adjacent to Cape Tribulation in the north to sites adjacent to Cairns in the south and from passive pesticide samplers located at the Low Isles.

The water clarity score of 75.4 (‘good’) in the North zone is comprised of a total suspended solids (TSS) score only. Turbidity was not monitored in the North Zone.

Nutrients scored 76.2 (‘good’) in the North zone, comprising of ‘very good’ for oxidised nitrogen (NOx), a ‘good’ for particulate nitrogen (PN) and a ‘moderate ’ for particulate phosphorus (PP).

The chlorophyll a score in the North zone is 71.0 (‘good’).

Using the Photosystem II herbicide equivalent concentrations method, pesticides received a score of 96.8 (‘very good’).

The water quality index increased substantially in North zone since 2014-15 from ‘moderate’ (57.2) to ‘good’ (79.9) with improvements from ‘poor’ to ‘good’ for water clarity and chlorophyll a, and from ‘moderate’ to ‘good’ for nutrients.

Coral

Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

The overall coral grade in 2015-16 for the North inshore zone is ‘moderate’ (60.8).

The coral grade is comprised of the density of juvenile hard corals score of 40 (‘poor’), the macroalgae cover score of 68 (‘good’), the coral cover score of 42 (‘moderate’), the change in coral cover score of 51 (‘moderate’), and the coral community composition score of 71 (‘good’).

The coral index grade in the north zone has remained ‘moderate’ since 2014-15 but the score has improved 44.3 – 60.8. Increases of indicator scores are likely to relate to the associated improvements of water quality. More information is available in the Marine Monitoring Program inshore coral report by Thompson et al. (2017).

Seagrass

Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

The overall seagrass grade in 2015-16 for the North inshore zone is ‘poor’ (30.9).

The seagrass grade is comprised of the seagrass abundance score of 40.2 (‘poor’), the tissue nutrient score of 31.3 (‘poor’), and reproductive effort score of 25.0 (‘poor’) from the Marine Monitoring Program in addition to the seagrass biomass score of 40.3 (‘poor’), the meadow area score of 48 (‘moderate’), and sea grass species composition score of 71.3 (‘good’) from the Queensland Ports Seagrass Monitoring Program.

Seagrass meadows in the North zone are in a vulnerable state and remains in ‘poor’ conditions since 2014-15. However some indictors are improving and the seagrass index score has increased from 21.3 to 30.9. Persistent foundational species have increased at some sites in the North zone (e.g. Yule Point) and have greater capacity to resist environmental stress and therefore such sites may be improving their resilience. More information on seagrass condition in the North zone is available from the Marine Monitoring Program report by McKenzie et al. (2016) with further updates soon to be published for 2015-16.

Fish

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.

 

References
McKenzie, L.J., Collier, C.J, Langlois, L.A, Yoshida, R.L, Smith, N. and Waycott, M. (2016) Marine Monitoring Program. Annual Report for inshore seagrass monitoring: 2014 to 2015. Report for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. TropWATER, James Cook University, Cairns. 236pp.
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.