How healthy is your local catchment ?

The annual Healthy Land & Water Report Card communicates the health of South East Queensland’s waterways.



Data requests

Data is available on request to students, researchers, and consultants. Data is provided free of charge to members and educational institutions.

Contact us to request data.

An holistic understanding of our waterways

Since 2000, Healthy Land and Water (then Healthy Waterways) has delivered one of Australia’s most comprehensive freshwater, estuarine and marine monitoring programs.

The Monitoring Program provides a regional assessment of the health for each of South East Queensland’s major catchments, river estuaries and Moreton Bay zones. 



Estuarine-Marine Monitoring

The estuarine-marine program samples 182 estuarine-marine sites during eight months of each year (February, March, May, August, September, October, November, December). Monitoring is carried out by Queensland Government DSITI scientists. 

Estuarine Monitoring Sites.

Marine Monitoring Sites.


  Estuarine Marine Parameters
In situ  Temperature
  Secchi depth
  Dissolved oxygen
Water samples Chlorophyll-a
  Total Nitrogen
  Organic Nitrogen
  Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen
  Oxidised Nitrogen
  Total Phosphorus
  Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus
Freshwater Monitoring

The freshwater program samples 75 freshwater sites once per year in autumn. Each year the sites consist of 48 ‘fixed’ sites sampled every year and one of three sets of 27 rotating sites sampled once every three years. Using this protocol, 129 sites will be assessed every three years. Monitoring is currently carried out by Queensland Government DSITI scientists.

Freshwater Monitoring Sites. 

  Freshwater Monitoring Parameter
Physical/chemical pH
  Temperature: Maximum
  Temperature: Range
  Dissolved oxygen: Minimum
  Dissolved oxygen: Range
Ecosystem processes Benthic Respiration
  Gross Primary Production
Aquatic macroinvertebrates Taxa richness
  Proportion alien
Seagrass monitoring

Seagrass depth range at 17 sites is assessed twice per year. Measurements are undertaken by Queensland Government DSITI scientists.

In addition, citizen science programs collect seagrass cover data at more than 4000 sites throughout Moreton Bay. These programs engage 30 – 40 people each year (see Wildlife Queensland Coastal Citizen Science and Science Under Sail). Frequency and locations vary year to year.

DSITI Seagrass depth range (Zostera muelleri) (m)
DSITI and citizen science programs Seagrass species (% cover)
  Macroalgae (% cover)
  Toxic cyanobacteria Lyngbya majuscule (% cover)
  Geomorphological features (% cover)
Fish community and habitat monitoring

The estuarine fish communities are assessed every three years. Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) technology is used to estimate species richness and abundance in each estuary of South East Queensland. Assessments and video analysis are carried out by scientists at the University of Sunshine Coast.

In addition, citizen science programs are used to undertake fish community BRUV assessments in seagrass habitats throughout Moreton Bay (see Science Under Sail). Frequency and locations vary year to year. 

Fish Species richness
  Species abundance



Catchment Loads Monitoring

Catchment pollutant loads associated with rainfall events, are monitored at six sampler stations. At these sampling stations, water quality is sampled monthly during periods of base flow conditions and throughout major flow ‘events’. Samplers are managed by Queensland Government DSITI technicians.

Flow Stream height
  Rating curves
Water quality Total Nitrogen
  Organic Nitrogen
  Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen
  Oxidised Nitrogen
  Total Phosphorus
  Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus
  Suspended sediments
Social Monitoring

A community benefits survey of South East Queensland residents is undertaken annually (commenced in 2015) to collect data on the attitudes and behaviours that underpin the community’s expectations and actions towards using and valuing local waterways. The focus of the survey is to collect data on the following:

To what extent do people use local and South East Queensland waterways?

  • Which waterways are used for recreation? (location, type)
  • Which activities, and how frequently do residents undertake on or next to waterways?
  • Do residents use their local waterways or travel to adjacent/distant waterways to undertake activities?

To what extent do the conditions of South East Queensland waterways impact the use and enjoyment of these waterways?

  • How important are waterways to the South East Queensland community?
  • To what extent do the conditions of waterways contribute to the use of these waterways?
  • Which waterway attributes encourage or discourage people from using waterways?

Questions feature seven-point Likert scale questions (1 = Strongly Disagree to 7 = Strongly Agree), open text boxes, and distance pins on maps. The survey is administered through a 20-minute online survey hosted by Queensland University of Technology (Key Survey). Survey respondents are recruited using panel data (more than 3000 people per year) and are adults (18+) living in South East Queensland. It is designed to provide a representative subsample of the population within each catchment. 

Riparian Vegetation Mapping

The extent of freshwater riparian vegetation is mapped every three years (or when new data is available) using Landsat satellite imagery (SLATS). It is defined as the Foliage Projection Cover (FPC) (essentially woody vegetation) present within a 50m buffer zone adjacent to the freshwater edge. Resolution is at 30m2 pixels. The stream network was derived from the Queensland Governments (25m x 25m) Digital Elevation Model for the region with a stream initiation threshold of 0.1km (product of the Healthy Land and Water “Stream Order Mapping” study, due to be updated in 2017). 

Environmental modelling

A suite of environmental models help our members determine sustainable pollutant loads and set achievable environmental targets for waterway management in our catchment, estuaries and Moreton Bay.

Estuarine and bay water quality modelling
The TUFLOW model simulates water levels, speed and direction, temperature, salinity and suspended sediment and water quality processes. The model has been built to respond to tidal movements, atmospheric pressure and benthic roughness as well as pollutant loads from the SOURCE catchment model.

Catchment pollutant modelling
‚ÄčThe SEQ SOURCE Catchments Model enables Healthy Land and Water to quantify pollutant loads from catchments and understand the effect of management interventions in reducing those loads over time. This modelling platform was developed by a team of leading Australian hydrologists from research organisations and industry. The model allows predicted loads to be used as a measure of catchment pressure.