A technical report, Factors Influencing Riverine Fish Assemblages in Massachusetts, regarding a study of factors affecting the composition of river fish communities in Massachusetts streams has been recently published and is available at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) website: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2011/5193/.
"This study will help water resource managers and state environmental agencies make more informed decisions about managing the human-generated factors that affect aquatic habitat in the state."ť said Todd Richards, MassWildlife Aquatic Biologist and co-author of the report. Though the report is fairly technical, he said that conservation-minded audiences should find the report's introduction and conclusions portions useful for understanding the context of the study. Richards noted that environmental consultants, academics, conservation agents and commissions and other people with an interest or background in aquatic habitat will also have an interest in the report. Using data from MassWildlife's fish-community database, reviewing fisheries literature and employing a new Sustainable Yield Estimator computer application, the USGS in cooperation with the Massachusetts Departments of Fish and Game, Environmental Protection, and Conservation and Recreation investigated small and medium-sized streams to find out how the combination of physical natural basin characteristics (slope, sand and gravel, basin size, and elevation) and human land use characteristics (flow alteration, impervious land coverage, and dams) affect the compositions of fluvial (river-dependent) fish communities. Their study found that increases in the percent coverage of impervious land (paved roads, sidewalks, parking lots, etc.) and increases in flow alteration were significantly related to declines in the kinds and numbers of river-dependent fish communities in streams.