MARINE MONITORING PROGRAM

About MMP

What is the MMP

Site Map

Map of seagrass sites

Site List

List of seagrass sites

ABOUT THE MARINE MONITORING PROGRAM

The strategic priority for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is to sustain the Reef’s outstanding universal value, build resilience and improve ecosystem health over each successive decade. Improving water quality is a key objective, because good water quality aids the resilience of coastal and inshore ecosystems of Reef. In response to concerns about the impact of land-based run-off on water quality, coral and seagrass ecosystems, the Marine Monitoring Program (MMP) was the established in 2005 to monitor the inshore health of the Great Barrier Reef.

A key deliverable of the MMP, is reporting annually on the condition of inshore water quality, coral and seagrass, which forms an integral part of the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program (Paddock to Reef program). The Paddock to Reef program evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan implementation, and report on progress towards goals and targets

The overarching objective of the inshore seagrass monitoring program is to quantify the extent, frequency and intensity of acute and chronic impacts on the condition and trend of seagrass meadows and their subsequent recovery.

 In late 2008, seagrasses of the GBR were in a moderate state of health. From 2009 with the onset of the La Niña, seagrass state steadily declined due to multiple years of above-average rainfall. By 2010, seagrasses of the Reef were in a poor state and vulnerable to large episodic disturbances, as demonstrated by the widespread and substantial losses documented after the floods and cyclones of February 2011. Onset of seagrass recovery was observed from early 2012.

Seagrass Futures Team (Seagrass-Watch) monitor three indicators of seagrass condition: abundance (percent cover), reproductive effort and leaf tissue nutrients. Additional measures of seagrass condition and resilience include seagrass species composition, relative meadow extent and density of seeds in the seed bank.

Environmental pressures on seagrasses are recorded too, including within-canopy water temperature, within-canopy benthic light, sediment composition, macroalgae and epiphyte abundance.

Seagrass meadows are surveyed late in the dry season and again late in the wet season.

Understanding how the resilience of the Reef is affected by pressures is vital for management. Monitoring the inshore health of the Reef has been routinely carried out since 2005 under this program. Annual monitoring enables us to analyse:

  • trends in water quality parameters (turbidity/water clarity, nutrients) relative to the Water Quality Guidelines for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • the ecological risk of mixtures of pesticides to Reef ecosystems
    wet-season river-derived pollutant exposure
  • inshore seagrass condition and ecosystem health

The information collected is used for tactical, operational and strategic planning, quantifying management effectiveness and reporting.

Representative seagrass meadows are monitored at 29 locations, including the major seagrass habitat types where possible (estuarine, coastal, reef, subtidal).  

The majority of sentinel Seagrass sites, are monitored by the Seagrass Futures Team (Seagrass-Watch), with QPWS conducting drop camera monitoring at additional sites (indicated in italics).

  • Cape York region:Shelburne Bay, Piper Reef, Lloyd Bay, Stanley Island, Flinders Group, Bathurst Bay, Archer Point
  • Wet Tropics: Low Isles, Yule point, Green Island, Lugger Bay, Dunk Island, Goold Island, Missionary Bay
  • Burdekin: Magnetic Island, Shelley-Bushland Beach, Jerona
  • Mackay Whitsunday: Port Dennison, Hydeaway Bay, Pioneer Bay, Hamilton Island,  Lindeman Island, Tongue Bay, Midge Point, Newry Bay, St Helens Beach, Sarina Inlet, Clairview.
  • Fitzroy: Shoalwater Bay, Great Keppel Island,  and Gladstone Harbour
  • Burnett Mary: Rodds Bay; Burrum Heads and Urangan

Reef Water Quality Report Marine Results 2017–18

Overall the Great Barrier Reef’s inshore marine condition was poor in 2017–18, based on scores for coral, seagrass and water quality. The Cape York, Wet Tropics and Burdekin regions were in moderate condition overall and the Mackay–Whitsunday, Fitzroy and Burnett–Mary regions were in poor condition.

Individual inshore seagrass meadows varied throughout the Reef, but were in poor condition overall in 2017–18. Seagrass condition was poor in every region except the Burdekin, which was moderate, and the Burnett Mary, which was very poor.

> 2017-18 annual report
> 2017 & 2018 report card
> 2016-17 annual report
> 2016 report card
> 2005-2016 past reports
> 2009-2015 report cards

ABOUT THE MARINE MONITORING PROGRAM

The Marine Monitoring Program (the program) was established in 2005 to monitor the inshore health of the Great Barrier Reef.

The program will inform the development of the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program.

The program monitors the condition and trend of inshore water quality and the health and resilience of inshore seagrass meadows and coral reefs.

Understanding how the resilience of the Reef is affected by pressures is vital for management. Monitoring the inshore health of the Reef has been routinely carried out since 2005 under this program.

Seagrass Futures Team (Seagrass-Watch) monitor three indicators of condition: seagrass abundance (percent cover), reproductive effort and leaf tissue nutrients. Additional indicators of seagrass condition and resilience include seagrass species composition, relative meadow extent and density of seeds in the seed bank.

Environmental pressures on seagrasses are recorded too, including within-canopy water temperature, within-canopy benthic light, sediment composition, macroalgae and epiphyte abundance.

Seagrass meadows are surveyed late in the dry season and again late in the wet season.

 

Understanding how the resilience of the Reef is affected by pressures is vital for management. Monitoring the inshore health of the Reef has been routinely carried out since 2005 under this program. Annual monitoring enables us to analyse:

  • trends in water quality parameters (turbidity/water clarity, nutrients) relative to the Water Quality Guidelines for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • the ecological risk of mixtures of pesticides to Reef ecosystems
    wet-season river-derived pollutant exposure
  • coral cover, seagrass abundance and ecosystem health

The information collected is used for tactical, operational and strategic planning, quantifying management effectiveness and reporting.

Seagrass meadows are monitored at 29 locations, including the major seagrass habitat types where possible (estuarine, coastal, reef, subtidal).  

The majority of Seagrass sites, are monitored by the Seagrass Futures Team (Seagrass-Watch), with QPWS conducting drop camera monitoring at additional sites (indicated in italics).

  • Cape York region:Shelburne Bay, Piper Reef/Farmer Island, Lloyd Bay/Lockart River, Stanley Island, Bathurst Bay, Archer Point
  • Wet Tropics: Low Isles, Yule point, Green Island, Lugger Bay, Dunk Island, Goold Island in Rockingham Bay, Missionary Bay/Hinchinbrook Island
  • Burdekin: Picnic-Cockle Bay on Magnetic Island, Shelley-Bushland Beach in Townsville, Jerona in Bowling Green Bay
  • Mackay Whitsunday: Hydeaway Bay/Shoal Bay, Tongue Bay, Pigeon Island/Pioneer Bay, Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, Midge Point in Repulse Bay, Newry Bay/Newry Islands, Sarina Inlet in Mackay
  • Fitzroy: Ross Creek-Wheelans Hut in Shoalwater Bay, Monkey Point/Great Keppel Island, Pelican Banks/Gladstone Harbour
    Burnett Mary: Rodds Bay, Burrum Heads and Urangan in Hervey Bay

Reef Water Quality Report Marine Results 2017–18

Overall the Great Barrier Reef’s inshore marine condition was poor in 2017–18, based on scores for coral, seagrass and water quality. The Cape York, Wet Tropics and Burdekin regions were in moderate condition overall and the Mackay–Whitsunday, Fitzroy and Burnett–Mary regions were in poor condition.

Individual inshore seagrass meadows varied throughout the Reef, but were in poor condition overall in 2017–18. Seagrass condition was poor in every region except the Burdekin, which was moderate, and the Burnett Mary, which was very poor.

> 2017-18 annual report
> 2017 & 2018 report card
> 2016-17 annual report
> 2016 report card
> 2005-2016 past reports
> 2009-2015 report cards

MMP SEAGRASS SITES MAP

This map lists Seagrass sites on the Great Barrier Reef that are surveyed by the Seagrass-Watch Global Seagrass Observing Network as part of  the Marine Monitoring Program (MMP). Each site links to individual pages containing:

  • a site map and description
  •  abundance information
  • results
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MMP SEAGRASS SITES LIST

Below is a list of Seagrass sites on the Great Barrier Reef that are surveyed by the Seagrass-Watch Global Seagrass Observing Network as part of  the Marine Monitoring Program (MMP). Each site links to individual pages containing:

  • a site map and description
  •  abundance information
  • results
NRM RegionLocationSite CodeHabitatMore info
Cape YorkArcher PointAP1, AP2
Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Cape YorkBathurst BayBY1, BY2
Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Cape YorkBathurst BayBY3, BY4
Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
Cape YorkFlinders Group
FG1, FG2
Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
Cape YorkFarmer Island (Piper Reef)FR1, FR2
Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Cape YorkLloyd Bay (Lockhart River)
LR1, LR2
Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
Cape YorkShelburne Bay
SR1, SR2
Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Cape YorkStanley Island
ST1, ST2
Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Cape YorkWeymouth Bay (Yum Yum beach)YY1
Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet Tropics
Low Isles, Port Douglas
LI1Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet Tropics
Low Isles, Port Douglas
LI2Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet Tropics
Yule Point, Port DouglasYP1, YP2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet Tropics
Green Island, Cairns
GI1, GI2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet TropicsGreen Island, Cairns
GI3Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet TropicsLugger Bay, Mission Beach
LB1, LB2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet TropicsDunk Island, Mission Beach
DI1, DI2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet TropicsDunk Island, Mission Beach
DI3Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet TropicsGoold Island (Rockingham Bay)
GO1Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Wet TropicsMissionary Bay (Hinchinbrook Island)
MS1, MS2
Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
BurdekinBushland Beach (Townsville)BB1Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
BurdekinBowling Green Bay (Jerona)JR1, JR2
Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
BurdekinPicnic Bay (Magnetic Island)MI1Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
BurdekinCockle Bay (Magnetic Island)MI2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
BurdekinPicnic Bay (Magnetic Island)MI3Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
BurdekinShelley Beach (Townsville)SB1, SB2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundayClairviewCV1, CV2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundayHydeaway Bay
HB1, HB2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundayHamilton IslandHM1, HM2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundayLindeman IslandLN1, LN2Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundayMidge PointMP2, MP3Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundayNewry Bay (Newry Islands Group)NB1, NB2Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundayPigeon Island (Pioneer Bay)PI2, PI3Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundaySarina InletSI1, SI2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Mackay WhitsundayTongue Bay (Whitsunday Island)TO1, TO2Subtidal seagrass siteClick Here
FitzroyPelican Banks-north, Gladstone HarbourGH1, GH2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
FitzroyMonkey Point, Great Keppel IslandGK1, GK2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
FitzroyRoss Creek, Shoalwater BayRC1Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
FitzroyWheelans Hut, Shoalwater BayWH1Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Burnett-MaryBurrum Heads, Hervey BayBH1, BH3Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Burnett-MaryRodds Bay, Turkey BeachRD1Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Burnett-MaryRodds Bay, Turkey BeachRD2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Burnett-MaryRodds Bay, Mangrove BayRD3Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here
Burnett-MaryUrangan, Hervey BayUG1, UG2Intertidal seagrass siteClick Here

First Nations Acknowledgement

Seagrass-Watch acknowledges the Country and people of Australia’s First Nations. We pay our respect to Elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the continuous living culture of First Nations Australia—their diverse languages, customs and traditions, knowledge and systems. We acknowledge and thank First Nations people for the enduring relationship connecting people, Country and ancestors—an unbreakable bond that safely stewarded and protected the land, waters and sky for thousands of generations.