Report Card


wet tropics report card

The Wet Tropics Report Card assesses the condition of the nine catchments and eight estuaries of the region as well as the inshore marine and offshore marine zones.  

The annual reporting periods align with financial years (1st July to 30th June) with six consecutive reports now covering the period from 1st July 2014 to 30 June 2020.

The grades depicted in the Report Card are developed by analysing and integrating scientific monitoring data contributed by many organisations. Wet Tropics Waterways is continually refining the assessment to include new indicators and methods that fill known knowledge gaps. 

Basin and estuary monitoring includes an assessment of various indicators of water quality, habitat/hydrology and fish. This monitoring occurs at:

  • Nine freshwater basins - Daintree, Mossman, Barron, Mulgrave, Russell, Johnstone, Tully, Murray and Herbert.
  • Eight estuaries - Daintree, Dixon Inlet, Barron, Trinity Inlet, Russell-Mulgrave, Johnstone, Moresby and Hinchinbrook Channel. 

Assessment of the health of North, Central, South, and Palm Island inshore marine zones is based on water quality, coral and seagrass health, while a single offshore marine site is assessed based on water quality and coral.

Report Card Improvements and Upgrades

Since the pilot report card was released in 2016, Wet Tropics Waterways has been addressing a number of monitoring gaps. 

Improvements made in 2019-20:

  • The addition of base-flow water quality monitoring for the Daintree River operated by Douglas Shire Council.
  • The expansion of the freshwater fish assessments to all basins except the Daintree.

Improvements made in 2018-19:

  • Water quality monitoring site added in the Murray River. All nine basins are now monitored for end of system water quality. 
  • Data for mangrove, saltmarsh and estuarine riparian extent were updated from the most recent regional ecosystem mapping conducted by Queensland Herbarium.

Improvements made in 2017-18:

  • The number of pesticides was increased from 13 to 22 for basins and estuaries and to 19 for inshore marine. 
  • Pesticide assessment was expanded from solely PSII inhibiting herbicides to include additional herbicide types and insecticides.  
  • Inshore marine pesticide assessment was updated to align with the basin and estuary pesticide risk assessment based on percent species protected. 
  • Basin (freshwater) water quality reporting commenced for the Daintree and Mossman.  
  • Wetland extent results for basins were updated from the most recent Regional Ecosystem and wetland mapping conducted by Queensland Herbarium.
  • Freshwater fish reporting was introduced for the Mulgrave and Russell basins.   

Improvements made prior to 2017-18:

  • 2016-17: Additional estuary water quality monitoring zone; additional indicator for stream flows in basins and estuaries.  
  • 2015-16: Additional estuary water quality monitoring zones; additional indicators for fish barriers in estuaries and for aquatic weeds in basins. 

The freshwater fish index will be available for all basins next year in the 2021 Report Card. Fish indicators are yet to be developed for the estuary and marine environments.

We now have a comprehensive picture of the current condition of our waterways. Going forward, we are in a good position to track trends in the health of our estuaries, freshwaters and marine zones and see how they are responding to the community’s ‘stewardship’ efforts. 

For presentation purposes scores are rounded down to whole numbers.  

More detailed information on the grades and the methods used to generate them is available on this site and in the methods and results reports below: 


Download the Report Card PDF for online viewing or printing: 

wet tropics report card

Key messages for 2021



very good








very poor

insufficient data

Confidence surrounding the data has been assessed using a multi-criteria framework.



indicators and confidence



indicators and confidence


Inshore marine

indicators and confidence


Offshore marine

indicators and confidence


Environmental results

click on the grades for more information about each zone

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For more detailed information on the grades and the methods used to generate them please refer to the following reports: 

2021 report card results