Daintree Basin

The Daintree basin has an area of 2,107km2 with a high proportion of protected areas (56% natural/minimal use lands and 32% forestry). Remaining area consists of 7% grazing, 2% sugarcane, 1% urban and 2% other.

Steep mountains and hills dominate this basin, with a narrow coastal plain. The coastal lowland fringe is characterised by mangrove wetlands, sandy beaches and inshore fringing reefs.

The majority of public and private land in the highlands is included in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and there is a high level of tourism associated with the basins natural values.

The diagram below shows the detailed results for each indicator by year. Click on the timeslider to see data from previous years.

Water quality

A water quality score and grade cannot be provided for the Daintree basin in 2016-17 due to insufficient data.

A new end of catchment water quality monitoring site is being established through the Paddock to Reef program, and the data will be made available for the Wet Tropics Report Card in future years.

Habitat and hydrology

The habitat and hydrology index is comprised of four longer-term indicator categories that are updated every four years: wetland extent, riparian extent (both to be updated for 2017-18), invasive weeds (to be updated for 2019-20), habitat modification (impoundment length (to be updated for 2018-19) and fish barrier indicators (in development).

Changes in the annual scores for the habitat and hydrology index over the last three years have resulted from the addition of indicators, rather than changes in the indicator scores themselves. The Daintree basin habitat and hydrology index is unchanged from 2015-16 and remains ‘very good’, scoring 81.

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.

Riparian extent for the Daintree basin scored 99 (‘very good’) with 0.01% loss from pre-clear extent to 2013, due to the basin predominantly being in the World Heritage Area.

Wetland extent scored 61 (‘good’) with 14.6% loss of palustrine (freshwater) wetlands from pre-clear to 2013. These results reflect a historic loss, with the Daintree wetlands largely intact in the upper catchment.

The invasive weeds indicator scored 62 (‘good’) in the Daintree basin and was the second highest scoring basin in the Wet Tropics region.

The flow indicator could not be assessed for the Daintree basin due to the lack of pre-development modelled flow and flow assessment sites, which are required for the analysis.

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


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.