How healthy is South East Queensland? About the region’s robust Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program

The results of our extensive monitoring program across South East Queensland were released on 5 November 2000, representing the culmination of twelve months of rigorous scientific monitoring at 312 freshwater, estuarine, marine, and event sites across the region.

For the last 20 years, results for South East Queensland have been communicated annually through the Healthy Land and Water Report Card.

Healthy Land and Water is the natural resource management group for South East Queensland, and we are charged with this massive endeavour which measures and reports on the health of our catchments. We actively manage the comprehensive and scientifically robust waterway monitoring program, which provides an assessment of the health of each of South East Queensland’s major catchments, river estuaries, and Moreton Bay zones.

The monitoring program was established in 2000, making it one of the first environmental monitoring and reporting programs in Australia. Our Report Card model has since been emulated throughout Australia and in many other countries across the globe.

This also means we have access to 20 years of valuable data, which helps us show trends to prioritise action, understand the impact of actions, and generate forecasts of future results based on the actions underway.

The Report Card provides an annual assessment of the ecosystem health of the region’s waterways via A-F health grades. Given the importance of waterways to the people of South East Queensland, it also incorporates the social and economic benefits that waterways provide to local communities though a 1- 5 star rating.

By understanding the health of our region’s waterways and the pressures facing them, we can better protect them and the benefits they provide for future generations. This will help ensure we have beautiful and healthy places to live and grow our communities in, well into the future.


The aims of the monitoring program and Report Card are to:

  1. Inspire action.
  2. Identify priority areas for investment and support members to identify and implement actions.
  3. Provide an assessment of the effectiveness of management actions and progress towards targets.
  4. Provide data relevant for researchers, managers and the wider community that contributes to greater waterway understanding.


The monitoring and reporting program plans to achieve this by segmenting it into three objectives:

  1. Enhance community quality of life.
  2. Fostering stewardship.
  3. Protect and restore waterway health.


Objective 1: Enhance community quality of life

  • Improve and optimise community access, interaction and satisfaction with their use of waterways.
  • Maintain/improve the economic benefit that waterways provide for commercial and recreational fishing.
  • Maintain/improve the contribution of waterways in providing low-cost drinking water.
  • Maintain/improve the economic benefit generated by recreation.


Objective 2: Fostering stewardship

  • Maintain/improve the extent to which society is willing and able to behave in ways that protect and restore waterways (e.g. adoption of Best Management Practice).


Objective 3: Protect and restore waterway health

  • Maintain/restore key habitats (riparian, wetlands, seagrass, mangroves, coral).
  • Minimise sediments and nutrient inputs to waterways.
  • Maintain/improve water quality.
  • Maintain/restore functionality of key processes.
  • Maintain/restore resilient and healthy aquatic communities.


How can you help keep South East Queensland’s waterways clean and healthy?

  • Stop displaced soil from being washed off your property or construction site and into rivers and creeks by applying our erosion and sediment control framework. Get the details here.
  • Implement sustainable land management practices in order to reduce the amount of nasty pollutants like mud and chemicals from entering our waterways. Read more.
  • Help stop rubbish from piling up in our parks, rivers and creeks by joining local environment groups or participating in litter clean-up days. Find out about our Clean Up Program here.
  • Build resilience into damaged or eroding areas like, riverbanks or green spaces by planting native vegetation. You can make a difference by taking action in your very own backyard! By protecting uncovered soil with plants, trees or even grass, you can stop soil from washing down your driveway and into stormwater drains.

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Healthy Land and Water is dedicated to the care of our unique and beautiful land, waterways and biodiversity.

  • Address: Level 19, 160 Ann Street Brisbane QLD 4000
  • PO Box: 13204, George Street Brisbane QLD 4003
  • Phone: (07) 3177 9100
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