Remnant seagrass beds of Ince Bay are critical dugong feeding and breeding grounds. These High Ecological Value marine receiving waters are especially vulnerable to increases in concentrations of nutrients, pesticides and sediment. Photograph credit Sami Sarkis
Summary of progress
The Cape Creek catchment management area includes the High Ecological Value areas of Cape Palmerston National Park, Ince Bay and adjacent inshore fringing reefs. The National Park comprises more than 50% of the catchment area with extensive stretches of coastline that include rocky headlands,a range of lowland vegetation and beaches. The marine inshore water supports regionally significant seagrass beds that are critical to sustaining local dugong and turtle populations. A third of the catchment is utilised for grazing production with some small cane plantations.
In 2007, the estuarine area was rated as one of the most intact in the Mackay Whitsunday region. Between 2007 and 2013, there have been some efforts to improve water leaving grazing areas to adjacent wetlands and High Ecological Value marine areas. Water quality in these areas are rated as having a medium risk exposure.
Management practices that reduce atrazine and diuron loads are a priority for the Cape Creek catchment area. Grazing management practices that reduce nitrogen loads need to be addressed through improved grazing management practices to improve event water quality.
All system repair actions that support an improvement in fish communities are of the highest priority. Future management efforts are also focusing on improving coastal wetland extent and condition and activities to help support regeneration of inshore seagrass beds.