Estuarine wetlands within protected areas

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Key finding

Thirty-six per cent of estuarine wetlands across Queensland are within an area of managed protection—which often overlap—of which 26% are in declared fish habitat area, 12% in are highly protected marine park zones and only 5% are in protected areas.

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Coastal drainage divisions (select locations to filter information)

Queensland

Estuarine wetlands are important ecosystems. They provide nurseries for many commercial fish species’ young and act as a protective buffer for the coastline from storm surges and cyclones.

Estuarine wetlands are contained within areas of managed protection. Managed protection include:

  • protected areas under the Nature Conservation Act 1992—national parks, national parks (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land), regional parks and nature refuges.
  • highly protected marine park zones under the Marine Parks Act 2004—marine national park, marine preservation, conservation, scientific research and buffer zones.
  • fish habitat areas declared under the Fisheries Act 1994.

Some estuarine wetlands are afforded higher protection due to the overlap of these areas of managed protection.

There are 2.67 million hectares of estuarine wetlands along the Queensland coast.

  • 954,607ha are in managed protection (36%).
  • 133,237ha are in protected areas (5%). More than 82% of these are in national parks.
  • 309,887ha (12%) are within highly protected marine zones of Queensland marine parks. The marine national park zone makes up the greatest amount.

Declared fish habitat areas offer the best cover for protection for estuarine wetlands, with more than 700,720ha (26%) covered. This makes up 73% of the total of protected estuarine wetlands.

In addition to the drainage divisions, the ‘other’ category represented in the data includes islands within Queensland waters, as well as discrepancies in catchment coverages and coastline.

Gulf

The Gulf drainage division has more than 660,000ha of estuarine wetlands of which 56,399ha (8%) are within areas of managed protection.

Only 20,000ha of estuarine wetlands in the Gulf (3%) are in protected areas. Almost half (42%) of these are in nature refuges, with others in national parks and regional parks.

There are no marine parks in the Gulf so no estuarine wetlands are covered in highly protected marine park zones.

More than 37,000ha of estuarine wetlands are in declared fish habitat areas, amounting to 6% of the division’s total estuarine wetlands.

North East Coast (GBR)

The North East Coast (GBR) drainage division comprises almost the entire eastern Queensland coast, with the exception of the southeast. Given the variety of conflicting land uses in this division, estuarine wetlands are under a lot of human-induced pressure.

Of the 455,085ha of estuarine wetlands in the North East Coast (GBR) drainage division, 55% (249,084ha) are covered in an area of managed protection.

Almost 90,000ha (20% of the division’s estuarine wetlands) are within protected areas.

  • National parks (including Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land national park) make up to 88% of this.
  • Regional parks account for 9%.
  • Nature refuges make up 3%.

Only 4,686ha of estuarine wetlands are within highly protected marine park zones in the North East Coast GBR drainage division.

  • 57% (2,690ha) are in conservation park zones
  • 43% (1,990ha) are in marine national park zones.

Declared fish habitat areas cover a large portion of estuarine wetlands in areas of managed protection, representing almost 186,734ha or 41% of all estuarine wetlands in the North East Coast GBR division.

North East Coast (non-GBR)

The North East Coast (non-GBR) drainage division contains the entire southeast coast of Queensland. With the largest proportion of the population living here, there are significantly more human-induced pressures on freshwater wetlands in this area.

Of the 39,750ha of estuarine wetlands, 22,161ha (56%) are within managed protection.

  • Declared fish habitat areas make up the majority of protection with 19,638ha included. This is 89% of protected estuarine wetlands and 49% of all estuarine wetlands in the non-GBR division.
  • 4,127ha (10%) of estuarine wetlands are within Highly Protected Marine Park zoning, with the majority in conservation park zones.
  • Only 5% (139ha) of all estuarine wetlands in the non-GBR division are in a protected area.

Indicator: Proportion of estuarine wetland systems within areas of managed protection

The proportion of  estuarine wetlands that are within areas of managed protection. For State of Environment purposes, managed protection include: Protected Areas under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, Areas of Fish Habitat under the Fisheries Act 2008, and State Marine Parks (Highly Protected Zones) under the Marine Parks Act 2004. Data is based on the latest Queensland Wetland Mapping (version 4, 2013) and the most current Protected Area, Fish Habitat and Marine Parks mapping (2015).

Download data from Queensland Government data