Assessments of waterway health have been undertaken and reported in various regions across Queensland. Many of these are multi-disciplinary partnerships involving government, science providers, industry, community and other parties. For a number of these areas, results are expressed as report cards. Monitoring is also conducted by local government, regional NRM bodies and community groups. Many of these organisations collect valuable information on the condition of Queensland waters that complements Queensland Government monitoring.
Capricornia Catchments are continuing to provide water samples from the Isaac River (at the bridge on the May Downs road) to the Department of Environment and Science (DES). The Queensland Government undertakes water monitoring for a number of reasons including: providing information to government for policy and investment decision-making; to underpin natural resource management decisions by government and stakeholders; to assess environmental impacts; and to educate and inform stakeholders and the community.
The Monitoring and Sampling Manual 2018 is the main document to determine the protocols when monitoring is required under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and Environmental Protection Regulation 2019. It provides the common techniques, methods and standards for sample collection, handling, quality assurance and control, custodianship and data management for use by Queensland Government agencies, relevant persons and other organisations.
The monitoring and sampling manual will help ensure that monitoring data available to all stakeholders is consistent and scientifically accurate. The data will help users assess the condition of Queensland waters and trends in water health. This is aimed at ensuring the aquatic environment can be managed for sustainable development and aquatic ecosystem health.
The primary goal of water sampling is to observe and measure how water quality changes over time. Components addressed in waterway assessments can include water quality (e.g. nutrients, sediments, water clarity), habitat (e.g. coral, seagrass, riparian), and socio-economic indicators, depending on the assessment.
Water quality monitoring data is available from the following Queensland government web pages:
- Water monitoring and data
- Ambient estuarine water quality monitoring data – 1993 to 2013
- Ambient estuarine water quality monitoring data (includes near real-time sites) – 2012 to present day