Inshore South

The northern boundary of the South inshore reporting zone extends due eastward from the mainland just south of the Moresby River at Double Point to the boundary of the offshore waters and includes enclosed coastal, open coastal and mid-shelf waters. The southern boundary of the South zone extends east from the North West bank of the Seaforth Channel mouth, just south of Hinchinbrook Island, to the offshore boundary. The major rivers discharging into the South zone are the Tully River and the Murray River. The Hull River discharges to the north of the Tully River. Several smaller waterways drain sub catchments that are dominated by agricultural land use, for example Liverpool Creek and Maria Creek, which discharge into the South zone. Numerous smaller creeks discharge to the north of and within Hinchinbrook Channel. Water quality in the South inshore zone is affected by plumes of sediments, nutrients and pesticides from rivers and creeks discharging directly into the zone but also from the plumes of southern rivers, particularly the Herbert and also the Burdekin located in the Dry Tropics NRM region. The area includes the Barnard Island group some 7 km east of Cowley Beach, North and South Dunk Island some 7.5 km south east of Mission Beach, and the Bedarra Island group located several kilometres south of the Dunk Island group. The area also includes Hinchinbrook Island. These islands provide fringing shallow water environments that support coral reef ecosystems and intertidal and subtidal reef seagrass meadows. Extensive seagrass meadows fringe the northern and western coastal areas of Hinchinbrook Island. Intertidal coastal seagrass meadows also occur close to the mainland including Lugger Bay approximately 10 km south of Mission Beach.

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 South inshore zone is ‘moderate’ (60.3).

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 two locations from inshore waters extending from sites to the north of Kurrimine Beach to the south of Tully Heads. In addition a passive pesticide sampler is located at Dunk Island.

The water clarity score of 33.3 (‘poor’) in the South zone is comprised of total suspended solids (‘poor’) and Turbidity (‘good’).

Nutrients scored 47.1 (‘moderate’) in the South zone, comprising of ‘very poor’ for oxidised nitrogen (NOx), a ‘good’ for particulate nitrogen (PN) and a ‘good’ for particulate phosphorus (PP).

The chlorophyll a score in the South zone was 64.7 (‘good’).

Using the Photosystem II herbicide equivalent concentrations method, pesticides received a score of 96.2 (‘very good’).

The water quality index has remained ‘moderate’ in the South zone since 2014-15 despite the increase in grades for chlorophyll a (‘moderate’ to ‘good’) and nutrients (‘poor’ to ‘moderate’).


Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

The overall coral grade in 2015-16 for the South inshore zone is 49.7 (‘moderate’).

The coral grade is comprised of the density of juvenile hard corals score of 59 (‘moderate’), the macroalgae cover score of 32 (‘poor’), the coral cover score of 36 (‘poor’), the change in coral cover score of 51 (‘moderate’), and the coral community composition score of 71 (‘good’).

In the South zone, in the absence of any acute disturbance events, scores for the majority of coral indicator metrics have improved from previous years but the index score has not improved markedly since 2014-15.  More information on recent changes in coral indicators and the relationships with environmental conditions are provided in the latest Marine Monitoring Program coral report Thompson et al. (2017).


Hover over each segment for indicator scores and data confidence.

The overall seagrass grade in 2015-16 for the South inshore zone is 18.4 (‘very poor’).

The seagrass grade is comprised of the seagrass abundance score of 14.9 (‘very poor’), the tissue nutrient score of 41.2 (‘moderate’), and reproductive effort score of 0.0 (‘very poor’) from the Marine Monitoring Program.

Seagrass meadows in the South zone are in a vulnerable state. There was very little change of the seagrass scores in the South zone since 2014-15 (18.3). Seagrass takes time to improve during favourable conditions due to the lag in the growth and expansion of meadows. Seagrass typically increases in area first, then biomass, and then succession to stable species composition and there is a lag between these three stages. The overall condition of seagrass increases during progression through these three stages.


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.

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.