How to read the report card

The report card gives estuaries a score for ecological health.  A healthy estuary would have clear water, minimal algae and would be brimming with a wide range of plants and animals. Ecological health does not refer to other environmental health issues such as drinking water quality, safety for swimming, heavy metal contamination, disease, bacteria, viruses or our ability to harvest shellfish or fish.

To determine the grade, the conditions of particular parts of the ecosystem are used as indicators. The three indicators used in the 2012 report are chlorophyll-a concentration (indicating the amount of algae as a result of high nutrient concentrations), turbidity levels (the amount of sediment in the water, which measures water clarity) and seagrass depth range (how deep light penetrates through the water, another measure of water clarity).

Historic Report Card Grades for Tuggerah Lakes

Report card grades are generated from field sampling programs over the summer period.

‘Summer’ period defined as data collected between October and April of any given consecutive years.


Grade benchmarks have been set after examination of scores for over 130 estuary sites across the state.  The Grade shows where a site would be in comparison to the other estuaries, allowing comparison on a NSW-wide scale.

Grade Result Description
A Excellent The highest 20% of scores in the state
B Good Next 20 % of high scores
C Fair Middle 40% of scores
D Poor Lower 15 % of scores
F Fail Lowest 5 % of scores