Wetland values and processes
The Great Barrier Reef Wetland Monitoring Program tracks long-term trends in the pressures on and changes in the environmental values of natural freshwater wetlands as part of the Paddock to Reef program. Wetlands from the Normanby catchment to the Mary River catchment are monitored. The monitoring program focusses on vegetated swamps (palustrine wetlands) and lakes (lacustrine wetlands) occurring within floodplain systems connected to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon by surface waters. Four aspects of wetlands are monitored using an index of indicators to determine biological health (including water quality), physical naturalness, the naturalness of the hydrology, and connectivity to nearby wetlands and native vegetation. The results of these individual assessments are rolled up to give overall score card for Great Barrier Reef catchment wetlands. This assesses progress towards the Reef Plan target for improved wetland processes and environmental values.
For more information, read the Wetland monitoring pilot study assessment methods and monitoring design (PDF, 2.95MB).
The change in extent of wetlands is based on the Queensland Wetlands Program wetland mapping which draws on remote sensing, topographic mapping and regional ecosystem mapping to identify wetlands based on both water bodies and vegetation. The extent of wetlands is updated every four years to assess progress towards the Reef Plan 2013 target of ‘no net loss of the extent of natural wetlands by 2018’. For more information, visit WetlandInfo.