The Pioneer River received a D on the Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef report card
The Pioneer River received a D on the Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef report card Lee Constable

Mackay's waterways fail quality test and here's why

WHITSUNDAY offshore marine zones topped the class but Mackay waterways failed to make the grade in the latestHealthy Rivers to Reef report card.

Dr Miles said the results of the report card - developed by the Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership - were generally consistent with last year.

"Some areas improved primarily due to lower rainfall than average," Dr Miles said. "For example, water quality in the Whitsunday region improved from a D to a B.

"The offshore marine area continues to be the only zone to score a B overall.

"Water quality in this zone again scored an A and ranked highest regionally. Importantly, the number of juvenile coral has increased in the offshore marine zone - a positive indicator for reef health.

"Contaminants like pesticides continue to be an issue in freshwater streams, particularly Plane Creek, Sandy Creek and Rocky Dam Creek, which received an E for contaminants, and the Pioneer River, which received a D.

"By tracking trends, the community has a better understanding of the health of their local waterways and can decide what further management actions are needed," Dr Miles said.

The 2015 Report Card details the environmental, economic, social and cultural health of the region's waterways, including the adjacent Great Barrier Reef.

It is the first full report card prepared by the Partnership, which draws members from across the community, industry, research groups and governments, following the release of the pilot report card a year ago.

Dr Miles said the report card built on the pilot with a range of new data including cultural heritage indicators that recognise the importance of understanding the value and condition of Indigenous cultural heritage sites.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert thanked the Mackay Whitsunday Traditional Owner Reference Group, which helped assess the many cultural heritage sites in the region.

"This report card is also an excellent example of how to integrate over $4million of existing monitoring and reporting actions at a regional scale," Ms Gilbert said.

"However, we recognise further work is required to provide a complete picture of the health of the region's waterways. This report card highlights some important information gaps that we will try to fill in the future."