The Target Fish Community (TFC) effort illustrates what a river fish population should look like in southern New England rivers and represents a measurable goal for restoration efforts.
In 2005, the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife received funding from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to apply the TFC method to most of Massachusetts' mainstem rivers. The TFC method allows biologists to compare an expectation of the type of fish community that should be found in a river to the fish communities that are currently found in the rivers.
While impairments to aquatic habits have been well documented in the state, the use of the TFC tool also allows resource managers to understand the effects impairments have on fish communities in major rivers and to prioritize restoration actions.
From 2006 to 2008, Target Fish Communities were described for 16 major rivers in Massachusetts following a methodology first developed for the Charles, Housatonic and Quinebaug rivers. The current status of many of these rivers is also described. Sampling efforts to describe the current status of the remaining rivers is on-going.
In April of 2009, the findings of this effort were published in a Technical Report. The report includes methods used in the effort, river conditions, river-specific results and conclusions. Though only a few hard copies are available, the Technical report report is .
When combined with Statewide Fisheries Survey and Inventory, the Target Fish Community concept continues to illustrate that our river fish communities are being impacted by water quality and quantity issues and habitat alteration.