Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Waterways Report Card

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Waterways Report Card

Article excerpt

WATERWAYS in the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac region have received their second annual report card and there are still areas that need improvement.

The 2016 report card has been developed by the Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership, which draws members from 23 organisations across the community, industry, research and government sectors. This report card represents the second full report card for the region.

The Partnership's chair, Di Tarte, said: "We are pleased to see minor improvements in some waterway health indicators and stewardship assessment results from industry, however pesticides remain a key issue in the Pioneer and Plane river basins".

"There has been a decrease in water quality in the inshore Whitsunday zone. Further research is being undertaken to understand why this is the case.

"The region has also been heavily impacted by Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie and we expect the next report card will capture these impacts in the results," Ms Tarte said.

Ms Tarte said the partnership has worked collectively to identify areas where more scientific information was required to fill data gaps.

"We continue to improve reporting methods. Increased sampling at more locations from the upper catchment, through the estuaries and to the outer Reef gives us a detailed understanding of the health of the region that supports residents to make a living and enhance their lifestyle," she said.

"The Partnership draws on investment of more than $3 million to access the best available science in waterway and marine monitoring programs".

Information and data used to calculate scores is collated from a number of sources, including Partnership members, then is further assessed by an independent panel of scientists.

Mackay-Whitsunday is one of a series of report cards now being produced in regional Queensland to complement the Great Barrier Reef wide report card.

The Queensland and Australian governments support report card development as an action under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan. …

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