The Wet Tropics region is 22,000 square kilometres, includes most of the Queensland Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and parts of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and is one of the most biodiverse places in the world.
The Wet Tropics region has occasional cyclones and highly variable rainfall predominantly in summer that delivers sediments, nutrients and pesticides to the inshore and sometimes offshore portions of the Reef in pulsed flows. The Herbert catchment carries some of the highest levels of nutrients to the Reef. Coastal ranges separate the western areas and floodplain. The dominant land uses include grazing to the west, sugarcane on the narrow coastal floodplain and some horticulture across the region.
Cairns is the major urban centre with many smaller towns on the coastal strip and Atherton Tablelands. The proximity of the outer reef supports strong tourism and recreational and commercial fisheries. Habitats include fringing and offshore reefs, shallow-water seagrass and extensive coastal mangroves. There is a mix of continental islands and coral cays.
The Regional Natural Resource Management body, Terrain Natural Resource Management, works with landholders to promote the adoption of improved management practices that reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment losses.
The catchment profiles provide information about each area including size and rainfall, land use, targets, priorities for water quality improvement and sources of pollutants.
- Last reviewed
- 8 July 2022
- Last updated
- 15 February 2019