LAUNCH: an annual report card on the region's waterways.
LAUNCH: an annual report card on the region's waterways. Melanie Whiting

REPORT CARD: How our waterways rate across the region

IT'S hoped the launch of an annual report card on the region's waterways will help drive much-needed investment in the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership report card rated 18 freshwater systems, estuaries and marine areas from across the Mackay and Whitsunday region in 2018, which returned a C average grade.

Of the 18 waterways, only Gregory Estuarine, north of Airlie Beach, was found to have very good health indicators.

The remaining marine environments ranged from poor to good, with four D scores, six C scores, and seven B scores.

During the launch of the report card on Thursday, Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership chair Julie Boyd said the information would be used to direct decision-making by community leaders and drive investment in the region's waterways.

"I have to say, in this part of the world, we're probably still behind the eight ball in some respects in terms of water quality health,” Mrs Boyd said.

"I think the investment has very much gone to the northern part of the reef rather than this part of the reef.

"So what we're trying to do, in getting the information together, is to then really talk to government about where to invest and what do we need them to do in the Mackay-Whitsunday region.”

The Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership is made up of a group of 26 organisations, representing all sectors including local, state and federal government, conservation, ports and coal, tourism, agriculture, Traditional Owners and more.

This year, the waterway health scores for the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac region have included the Bowen region and the Don Basin for the first time.

The Don Basin scored a 'moderate' for overall waterway health, but achieved a 'good' for water quality.

NQ Dry Tropics is working with landholders in the Bowen area to help improve land and water management.

Strategy and partnerships manager Donna Turner said the basin had been "forgotten” in the past but hoped this would soon change.

"We're actually pulling together a whole lot of information that we've never had before and that information can bring investment into the area,” she said.