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Wet Tropics regional summary

The Wet Tropics region covers 22,000 square kilometres and is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. It includes most of the Queensland Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and parts of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The tropical climate features high rainfall, with 60 to 70% falling in summer, and occasional cyclones. Rainfall in 2009–2010 was relatively typical with frequent rainfall events resulting in above average discharges from some catchments, especially in the southern part of the region. The main agricultural land uses are grazing (32%), sugarcane (7%) and horticulture (1%).

This Report Card measures progress from the 2009 baseline towards Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) goals and targets. It assesses the combined results of all Reef Plan actions up to June 2010. Report cards are produced as part of the Paddock to Reef program.

The regional Natural Resource Management body, Terrain Natural Resource Management, works with landholders to adopt improved management practices that reduce nutrient, pesticide and/or sediment runoff.


Key findings

  • The overall marine condition in 2009–2010 was moderate. Inshore coral reefs and seagrass were both in better condition in the north of the region compared to the south. A range of herbicides was detected in the region.
  • Overall, progress towards Reef Plan targets has been encouraging; however it will take time for these achievements to translate into improved marine condition.
  • 24% of sugarcane growers, 14% of horticulture producers and 8% of graziers have adopted improved land management practices.
  • The loss of wetlands has slowed in recent years (2005–2009) indicating progress towards the Reef Plan target.
  • The greatest proportional catchment load reduction was the pesticide load with an estimated 434kg (4%) less.
  • The significant progress has been driven primarily by the Australian Government’s Reef Rescue program along with Queensland Government and industry-led initiatives.

Table: Wet Tropics progress and status


Paddock to Reef program

The Paddock to Reef program, funded jointly by the Australian and Queensland Governments, is a highly innovative approach to integrating monitoring and modelling information on management practices, catchment indicators, catchment loads and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Progress towards targets


Last updated:
27 August, 2014
Last reviewed:
18 April, 2013

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