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Catchment indicators

The loss of wetlands and riparian vegetation is mostly caused by clearing, often for agricultural use. Wetland modification through bunding can increase the extent of wetlands. Ground cover is influenced by land management and climate. There were significant areas of low ground cover within the Burdekin and Fitzroy regions which were drought declared.

About the indicators

Riparian vegetation is the vegetation beside waterways. Both riparian vegetation and ground cover are important to help reduce pollutant flow to waterways and prevent erosion. Wetland and riparian areas have a water quality protection function and a value in their own right.

Confidence in groundcover condition grade - 4 out of 5 Groundcover levels are based on annual monitoring data using satellite imagery, calibrated by field data.

Confidence in riparian vegetation condition grade - 3 out of 5 Riparian vegetation extent is measured every four years using satellite imagery.

Confidence in wetland condition grade - 4 out of 5 Wetland extent is derived from wetlands mapping every four years. A separate case study (PDF, 954K) outlines the pilot project to report on wetland environmental values and processes.

Scoring system

A standardised scoring system was developed for each of the key indicators in the report card. The scoring system is used to assess and communicate progress towards the catchment targets using the following categories:

Results—colour coding
Very goodGoodModerate
PoorVery poorNo data

Further details on the scoring system (PDF, 596K) for each indicator are outlined in the supporting technical information.

Wetland loss

Change in extend of natural wetlands between 2009 and 2013 (reported every four years)Target: no net loss by 2018.

Great Barrier Reef 330ha loss (<0.1%) Good
Cape York No loss Very good
Wet Tropics 9ha loss (<0.1%) Good
Burdekin 61ha gain (<0.01%) Very good
Mackay Whitsunday 5ha gain (<0.1%) Very good
Fitzroy 348ha loss (0.1%) Good
Burnett Mary 39ha loss (0.1%) Good

Read the detailed Wetland extent results (PDF, 962 KB).


Change in extend of riparian vegetation between 2009 and 2013 (reported every four years). Target: extent increased by 2018.

Great Barrier Reef 30,980ha loss (0.4%) Moderate
Cape York 226ha loss (0.02%) Good
Wet Tropics 1060ha loss (0.2%) Moderate
Burdekin 8351 ha loss (0.3%) Moderate
Mackay Whitsunday 539ha loss (0.3%) Moderate
Fitzroy 14,777ha loss (0.7%) Poor
Burnett Mary 6027ha loss (0.7%) Poor

Read the detailed Riparian results (PDF, 746 KB).

Ground cover

Late dry season ground cover in 2013-2014 Target: minimum 70% cover by 2018.

Great Barrier Reef 77% Very good
Cape York 84% Very good
Wet Tropics 85% Very good
Burdekin 73% Very good
Mackay Whitsunday 88% Very good
Fitzroy 78% Very good
Burnett Mary 81% Very good

Read the detailed Ground cover results (PDF, 5.5 MB).

Last updated:
17 December, 2015

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