Maroochy River catchment
  • Last updated:
  • 10 Jun 2019

The Maroochy River rises in the Blackall and Mooloolah ranges and flows through a variety of farmlands and rural towns. It then spills onto a large, broad flood plain dominated by canelands. Major tributaries include Petrie, Paynter and Eudlo Creeks and the North and South Maroochy.

More than half the catchment has been cleared for agriculture - especially sugarcane and a variety of other crops including pineapples, strawberries and ginger, as well as low intensity grazing.

Statistics and facts

  • 638 square kilometres total catchment area
  • 638 square kilometres within council region
  • 100% catchment within council jurisdiction
  • 20% council area
  • Council divisions 4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10
  • 3 Water Supply Storages - Cooloolabin, Wappa and Poona Dams
  • 4 Sewage Treatment Plants (STP)—Maroochydore, Nambour, Coolum and Suncoast which all discharge treated effluent via outfalls to the Maroochy River
  • Map of Maroochy River Catchment[1693KB]

Ecosystem health

Over the last decade, health ratings for the Maroochy catchment have ranged from a C to B- (fair to good condition) and have fluctuated between a C+ and a D+ (fair to poor condition) in the Maroochy River.

Maroochy's individual sub-catchments were also assessed in 2005-07 with detailed health ratings listed below:  

Land use

Land use within a catchment has a direct correlation to its overall ecosystem health. The land use in Maroochy consists of:

  • 31% remnant vegetation                                                      
  • 52% rural
  • 17% urban.

Some important tracts of natural bushland still remain:

  • The eastern section of Mapleton State Forest
  • The drinking water supply areas of the South Maroochy
  • Areas of Marcoola, Coolum and Peregian along the east coast
  • Mangrove forests in the low to middle reaches of the estuary

Catchment management

The impacts of land use, rural and urban runoff, and on-water recreational activities can affect water quality and ecosystem health. In Maroochy, catchment management is focussed on reducing these impacts through:

  • support for rural landholders to improve land management practices
  • promotion of a sustainable agricultural landscape
  • protection and conservation of remnant vegetation and wildlife corridors
  • rehabilitation of riparian (stream bank) vegetation in freshwater creeks
  • prevention and rehabilitation of landslips
  • reduction of sediment runoff from unsealed rural roads
  • reduction of sediment, nutrients and litter in urban run-off 
  • rehabilitation of riparian and mangrove habitats in the estuary
  • protection migratory shorebirds
  • promotion of sustainable fishing.

Programs, projects and activities

Council delivers a range of programs, projects and activities in partnership with stakeholders to protect the natural values of the Maroochy River catchment. These include: