The northern boundary of the Central inshore reporting zone area extends north-east from Cape Grafton just south of Cairns to the offshore boundary and includes enclosed coastal, open coastal and mid-shelf waters.
The southern boundary of the Central zone extends due eastward from the mainland just south of the Moresby River at Double Point to the boundary of the offshore waters.
The major rivers discharging into the central zone are the Mulgrave River the Russell River and Johnstone River. The Moresby River discharges into the southern coastal area of the Central zone. Numerous smaller waterways drain coastal sub catchments that discharge into the Central zone.
Water quality in the Central 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 Tully/Murray, which are carried north by prevailing currents.
The area includes Fitzroy Island to the north, the High Island Group some 12km north-east of Deeral, the Frankland Island group approximately 16 km due east of Deeral and Normanby Island located between the High Island group and the Frankland Island group. These islands provide fringing shallow water environments that support coral reef ecosystems.
The overall grade for the Central zone remained ‘moderate’ with the score of 57 unchanged from 2016-17.
The diagram below shows the detailed results for each indicator by year. Click on the timeslider to see data from previous years.
The water quality grade in 2017-18 for the Central inshore zone was ‘moderate’ and scored 53.
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 four locations from inshore waters extending from sites at Fitzroy Island in the north to sites at the Frankland Island Group in the south. In addition, passive pesticide samplers are located at High Island.
The water clarity score of 41 (‘moderate’) in the Central zone is comprised of total suspended solids (‘moderate’) and turbidity (‘moderate’).
Nutrients scored 53 (‘moderate’) in the Central zone, comprising of ‘poor’ for oxidised nitrogen (NOx), a ‘good’ for particulate nitrogen (PN) and a ‘good’ for particulate phosphorus (PP).
The chlorophyll a score in the Central zone was 36 (‘poor’).
Using the pesticide risk metric pesticides were graded “very good” and scored 84, equating to 99.2 percent of species protected.
The overall coral grade in 2017-18 for the Central inshore zone was 61 (‘good’) and increased from a ‘moderate grade in 2016-17.
The coral grade is comprised of the density of juvenile hard corals score of 38 (‘poor’), the macroalgae cover score of 73 (‘good’), the coral cover score of 62 (‘good’), the change in coral cover score of 74 (‘good’), and the coral community composition score of 58 (‘moderate’).
The improved score for the Central zone, resulting in a condition grade of ‘good’ was predominantly driven by increased coral cover and juvenile density at shallower depths. However the pressure from crown-of-thorns starfish continued in the Central zone with minor impacts observed at High Island and in the Frankland Group.
Further information about recent changes in the coral index for the central zone are available from the latest Marine Monitoring Program coral report (Thompson et al. 2019).
There is currently no seagrass monitoring undertaken in the Central zone and consequently no seagrass grade can be calculated for this zone.
The fish index is currently under development and will be available in future report cards.