The Burdekin region is approximately 141,000 square kilometres. The landscapes and biodiversity assets of the Burdekin region are equally diverse and of both national and international significance. Regional land use is dominated by grazing. The major threat from this land use is sediment and associated particulate nutrients from soil erosion, while some pesticide residues have also been detected in river run-off. Sugarcane, horticulture and other cropping are important irrigated land uses in the region, with the Haughton catchment being one of the five highest contributors of dissolved inorganic nitrogen to the Reef, mostly from sugarcane.

The Burdekin region has occasional cyclones and highly variable rainfall predominantly in summer that falls mostly along the coastal areas and delivers sediments, nutrients and pesticides to the inshore and sometimes offshore portions of the reef in pulsed flows, which can be affected by reservoirs and dams. The large region is mostly drained by the Burdekin River.

The Burdekin dam and groundwater are important for irrigation. Urban centres such as Townsville and the smaller towns of Ayr and Bowen are located on the coastal strip. Habitats include fringing and offshore reefs, shallow-water seagrass, mangroves and freshwater swamp wetlands. There are continental islands (such as Magnetic Island) along the coast. Reef-based tourism, as well as commercial and recreational fishing, are an important part of the regional economy.

The Regional Natural Resource Management body, NQ Dry Tropics, partners with industry groups to deliver training, extension support and financial incentives to landholders to accelerate adoption of best management practices in the region's sugarcane, horticulture and grazing industries.

The catchment profiles provide information about each area including size and rainfall, land use, targets, priorities for water quality improvement and sources of pollutants.