Russell Basin

The Russell basin has a population of approximately 1,700 people, largely in Babinda and Miriwinni. The Russell River is among the least variable rivers in terms of annual flows in Australia, and the basin receives the highest rainfall in the region. The Russell River and Babinda Creek are the two key tributaries of the Russell basin.

The upper catchment is in the relatively undisturbed rainforest environments of the Bellenden Ker Range. The river floodplains and the lower river valley are dominated by sugarcane where the environment has been significantly modified with the loss of much of the original lowland rainforest.

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 Russell 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 East Russell, capturing 78% of the basin.

The sediment score is comprised of a total suspended solids (TSS) score of 90.0 (‘very good’) meaning that the annual median and at least 80% of the monthly medians of TSS concentrations complied with guideline values.

Nutrients scored 63.01 (‘good’) in the Russell basin, comprising of a DIN (dissolved inorganic nitrogen) score of 45.8 (‘moderate’) and FRP (filterable reactive phosphorus) score of 80.23 (‘good’) meaning that the annual median of FRP concentrations complied with guideline values.

Using the ms-PAF method, pesticides received a moderate risk category with 3.59% of species affected in the waterways of the Russell basin. This resulted in a pesticide grade of ‘good’ for the basin.

Compared to 2014-15 the water quality index for the Mulgrave basin remained ‘good’ with pesticides increasing from a ‘moderate’ to ‘good’ grade and FRP decreasing from a ‘very good’ to ‘good’ grade.

Habitat and hydrology

Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

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

The habitat modification score of 100 (‘very good’) is comprised of an impoundment length score of 100 (‘very good’) indicating that less than 1% of the total length of the waterways with a stream order of 3 or higher are impounded by artificial structures.

The fish barrier indicator method is still being developed and will be available in future report cards.

Riparian extent for the Russell basin scored 79.6 (‘good’) with 5.7% 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 35.1 (‘poor’) with 35.9% 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 41.0 (‘moderate’) in the Russell 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.