Citizen scientists inform Wet Tropics health report card with mangrove monitoring

08 September 2022

10 August 2022 - Mangrove condition has been graded as ‘good’ to ‘very good’ in five estuaries across the Far North in a new report on waterway health released today.

For the first time, the annual Wet Tropics Waterway Health Report Card includes data on mangrove condition. 

Data for the report card’s new mangrove assessment is gathered by the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre’s (CAFNEC) MangroveWatch program with help from over 400 volunteer citizen scientists. They apply techniques such as land-based saltmarsh monitoring and boat-based videography to record geotagged visual data of mangrove shorelines.

Shoreline mangrove habitat scores can be used to identify estuary habitat drivers of change and contribute to understanding the complex intersection of climate change and human impacts in coastal environments.

The methodology of data gathering, analysis, and indicator development has been created by MangroveWatch founders Dr Norm Duke (James Cook University) and Jock Mackenzie (Earthwatch Australia).

“This is the first-time citizen science has been included in a report card framework. By keeping a finger on the pulse of mangrove habitats in the wet tropics, we are improving whole-of-ecosystem understanding for robust and responsive management,” said Mr Mackenzie. 

“Beyond data collection, this program is creating a more engaged and informed Great Barrier Reef community. As a result, they are more likely to act as environmental stewards for the reef and facilitate local community behaviour change with improved environmental outcomes.”

To learn more about the report card, visit: 

For further information about wetland citizen science, visit:

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