I received the following from a friend and thought people who fish the Kenai should know about this proposal. Here is what was sent to me:

The KRSMA Advisory Board meets tomorrow and will be allowing public comments on the horsepower proposal resolution that they made in April. The important meeting that will be coming up is September 28 at 6:30 pm at the KPB Assembly Chambers. This will be a meeting dedicated to listening to public comments directed at raising the horsepower limit on the river to 50.
The actual resolution the board proposed reads as such:
  • <LI class=MsoNormal style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">require all engines to comply with 2006 EPA emission requirements for outboard motors <LI class=MsoNormal style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">require all 50 horsepower engines to be factory-stamped as 50 horsepower engines <LI class=MsoNormal style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">prohibit operation of larger engines detuned to 50 horsepower <LI class=MsoNormal style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">prohibit operation of boats larger than 21 feet long, though consideration should be given to longer hulls until 2010
  • require the Division of Parks to conduct an aggressive program to educate all KenaiRiver boaters on the best practices for minimizing user conflicts and protecting habitat
I think everyone should object to this proposal immediately by contacting the KRSMA Board via letter or phone calls to Board members or contacting Jack Sinclair at DNR, Morgan Landing office in Soldotna.

Some history may help here. Over 10 years ago some individuals wanted to start to look at erosion issues on the Kenai - DNR said they would do a boat wake study and did not want to take action before the study was complete. The study had two phases and phase 1 is done and published but phase 2 - the meat of the project - has not been completed or released to the public.

This proposal would circumvent the public process by asking that regulations be passed prior to the study results being released. Why would anyone want to do that - simple greed is the answer. The guide industry would like to see all non-guided anglers off the river. By having an immediate switch over to 2006 EPA outboard motor standards every private boat owner would be out of compliance and not allowed on the river until they purchased a new engine - who can afford that? However, guides who buy new motors on a regular schedule and write them off as business expenses would skate free and clear - less people on the river more room for guides.

Second, the limitation on boat length has no bearing on erosion per se but grandfathers in the existing status quo with a provision for larger boats to 2010. Again, this favors the guide industry. It will put in place a regulation that would maintain what the guides want regardless of what the study results say about 50 hp and boat or hull type and length. Once a regulation like this is passed it is very difficult to change it within a reasonable time frame. What are the guides afraid of in the phase 2 studies - the fact that this proposal will not hold water under data from phase 2.

If you value the Kenai river you will oppose this proposal. All alternatives to dealing with erosion should be looked at, a comprehensive plan to deal with user conflicts should be prepared, and all data should be on the table for discussion and review. This proposal is a sham by the KRSMA board.