Serious bank erosion on the Chilkat River
Photographs taken in 2001 show significant bank erosion is occuring in the Upper Chilkat River where a commercial jet boat tour operates. An Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) sponsored study on the Chilkat River in 2002 determined that large commercial jet boat wakes hit the banks with 10 times the force of smaller boats operated by traditional users and ADFG staff. A 1997 ADFG sponsored study showed that most of the bank erosion on the Kenai River was caused by boat wakes. When river banks erode, fish habitat gets damaged: "Fish habitat provided by streamside vegetation, overhanging banks, and appropriately sized substrate can be altered or destroyed by accelerated rates of bank erosion." (Kenai River Study). Boat motor size on the Kenai River has been limited to 35 horsepower and boats have a 6 passenger limit. In the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, an area designated to protect and perpetuate eagles and their salmon food source, commercial jet boats use twin 150 horsepower jet engines and carry up to 32 passengers.