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Burnett Mary

The Burnett Mary region covers 53,000 square kilometres. The main agricultural land use is grazing. The region experienced above median rainfall in the 2010-2011 year. The 2013 risk assessment rated the Burnett Mary region as presenting a low risk to water quality relative to other regions.

The Burnett Mary's marine condition remained poor. Inshore water quality remained moderate and the condition of seagrass declined from poor to very poor. No coral monitoring occurs in the Burnett Mary region under the Marine Monitoring Program

Mackay Whitsunday marine condition graph

On this page:

Marine data (.csv, 1 KB)


Burnett Mary snapshot

Results—colour coding
Very goodGoodModerate
PoorVery Poor 

Management practices

Grazing Sugarcane Horticulture
Proportion of graziers who adopted improved practices between 2009 and 2011. Target: 50 per cent by 2013 Proportion of growers who adopted improved practices between 2009 and 2011. Target: 80 per cent by 2013 Proportion of producers who adopted improved practices between 2009 and 2011. Target: 80 per cent by 2013
Grazing 13% - Moderate result Sugarcane 42% - Very good result Horticulture 25% - Moderate result

Catchment indicators

Groundcover Nitrogen Sediment Pesticides
Late dry season groundcover as at 2010-2011. Target: 50 per cent by 2013. Reduction in annual average total nitogren load between 2009 and 2011. Target: 50 per cent Reduction in annual average sediment load between 2009 and 2011. Target: 20 per cent by 2020 Reduction in annual average pesticide load between 2009 and 2011. Target: 50 per cent by 2013
Groundcover 93% - Very good result Nitrogen 8% - Moderate result Sediment 3% - Good result Pesticides 17% - Good result

Management practices

Grazing

Grazing 13% - Moderate resultTarget: 50 per cent by 2013.
From 2009 to 2011, 13 per cent of graziers (334) adopted improved land management practices.

There are 2495 graziers managing 28,618 square kilometres of land in the Burnett Mary region.

By June 2011, 75 per cent of graziers were using (A or B) systems that are likely to maintain land in good to very good condition or improve land in lesser condition.

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

Of the 334 graziers who implemented improved practices, 135 completed Reef Rescue Water Quality Grants projects facilitated by the Burnett Catchment Care Association and the Burnett Mary Regional Group. The majority completed relevant training through AgForward, private sector consultants (supported by the FarmReady program) and the Queensland Government. Another 42 graziers adopted improved management practices through participation in targeted extension projects implemented by Burnett Catchment Care Association and the Queensland Government (supported by the Caring for our Country and Reef Rescue programs).

Sugarcane

Sugarcane 42% - Very good resultTarget: 80 per cent by 2013.
From 2009 to 2011, 42 per cent of sugarcane growers (208) adopted improved land management practices.

There are 498 growers managing 476 square kilometres of land in the Burnett Mary region.

By June 2011, cutting-edge (A) or best management (B) systems were used by 52 per cent of sugarcane growers for nutrients, 26 per cent for herbicides and 29 per cent for soil.

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

All 208 growers who implemented improved practices completed Reef Rescue Water Quality Grants projects facilitated by the Burnett Mary Regional Group. Of these, 98 improved nutrient management practices, 85 improved pesticide management practices and 91 improved soil management practices.

Horticulture

Horticulture 25% - Moderate resultTarget: 80 per cent by 2013.
From 2009 to 2011, 25 per cent of horticulture producers (70) adopted improved land management practices.

There are 280 horticulture producers managing 160 square kilometres of land in the Burnett Mary region.

By June 2011, cutting-edge (A) or best management (B) systems were used by 53 per cent of horticulture producers for nutrients, 76 per cent for herbicides and 74 per cent for soil.

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

All 70 horticulture producers who implemented improved practices did so with the support of Reef Rescue Water Quality Grants, facilitated by the Burnett Mary Regional Group and the Growcom Farm Management System program. Of these, 43 completed nutrient management projects, 18 completed soil management projects and 18 completed herbicide management projects.

Catchment indicators

Groundcover

Groundcover 93% - Very good resultTarget: 50 per cent by 2013.
Late dry season groundcover for grazing lands of the Burnett Mary region was high (93 per cent) in 2011. The 24-year mean groundcover was 85 per cent.

Groundcover results for the Burnett Mary region and catchments
Catchment/region 24-year mean groundcover (%) 2011 mean groundcover (%) Area with less than 50% groundcover averages over past 24 years (%) Area with less than 50% groundcover in 2011 (%)
Baffle 89 94 0.6 0.2
Burnett 84 93 1.0 0.2
Burrum 86 90 3.4 2.9
Kolan 88 94 0.5 0.5
Mary 88 92 0.5 0.3
Burnett Mary region 85 93 0.9 0.3

Groundcover changes over time

Over the past 24 years, the Burnett Mary region has had a consistently high mean annual groundcover of 85 per cent with a minimum of 77 per cent in 2002. The highest level of groundcover was in 2011 (93 per cent).

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

The greatest area with groundcover less than 50 per cent was almost three per cent in 1991.

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

Mean annual rainfall for the Burnett Mary region, over the period 1988 to 2011, is approximately 805 millimetres.

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)


Catchment pollutant loads

Nitrogen

Nitrogen 8% - Moderate resultTarget: 50 per cent by 2013.
The estimated annual average total nitrogen load leaving catchments reduced by eight per cent (127 tonnes). Agricultural fertiliser use is a key source of dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus. The estimated annual average dissolved inorganic nitrogen load leaving catchments reduced by 23 per cent (100 tonnes).

Phosphorus

Phosphorus 5%  - Moderate resultTarget: 50 per cent by 2013.
The estimated annual average total phosphorus load leaving catchments reduced by five per cent (13 tonnes).

Pesticides

Pesticides 17% - Good resultTarget: 50 per cent by 2013.
The estimated annual average pesticide load leaving catchments reduced by 17 per cent (267 kilograms).

Sediment

Sediment 3% - Good resultTarget: 20 per cent by 2020.
The estimated annual average suspended sediment load leaving catchments reduced by three per cent (10,000 tonnes).

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

Land management changes in the horticulture industry have not been modelled.


Marine

Water quality

Inshore water quality in the Burnett Mary region continued to decline and was moderate in 2010-2011. The decline was driven by relatively large changes in chlorophyll a, while total suspended solids remained stable.

In 2010-2011, chlorophyll a was very poor with concentrations exceeding the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Water Quality Guideline for 97 per cent and 96 per cent of the inshore area, in the dry and wet season, respectively. Total suspended solids were rated as good; however, concentrations exceeded the guidelines for 15 per cent and 26 per cent of the inshore area, in the dry and wet season, respectively.

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

Seagrass

The overall condition of inshore seagrass in the Burnett Mary region declined from poor to very poor, reflecting very poor abundance and reproductive effort of seagrass meadows and poor tissue nutrient status. Seagrass condition has generally been declining since 2005-2006; however, the indicators driving the condition assessment were highly variable over the monitoring period.

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

Seagrass is monitored at estuarine sites at Rodds Bay and Urangan, in the north and south of the Burnett Mary region, respectively. The primary environmental drivers of community composition at these sites are fluctuating temperatures, catchment run-off and high turbidity. Seagrass abundance was very poor throughout the region. The meadow in the south showed signs of recovery in 2010 from previous years of flooding; however, following the extreme weather events, abundance declined to pre-2008 levels. Reproductive effort declined across the region to a very poor state, which may result in reduced capacity of local meadows to recover from environmental disturbances. The nutrient concentrations of seagrass tissue were high, which is indicative of poor water quality following large flood events in the region.

Fitzroy water quality trend

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

Graph data (.csv, 1KB)

Last updated:
27 August, 2014
Last reviewed:
4 December, 2013

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