The rapid growth in the numbers and size of recreational boats is having serious ecological and social effects on the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS). Environmental studies have shown that the height and frequency of waves generated by recreational traffic is the principal causal factor for the high rates of erosion affecting the entire streambank profile. Shorelines exposed to significant recreational boat traffic are eroding at an average rate of 2-3 feet/year. Over the period of a decade, this translates to a loss of 20-30 feet of main channel shoreland and the ecological values associated with the floodplain forest community. An estimate of sediment release to the river (Johnson 1997), from Lock and Dam 3 to the head of Lake Pepin, indicates that streambank erosion contributes 82,600 cubic yards of sediment annually. This is approximately four times the amount of sediment dredged annually from this reach for channel maintenance. In addition to the loss of forested or other shoreline, this mobilized sediment contributes to the chronic resource problems of sedimentation and infilling of Lake Pepin and important backwater areas; high turbidities and the reduction of light transmission necessary for aquatic plant growth; and the economic costs to the public for dredging the fraction of these sediments deposited in the navigation channel. Wake damage to the navigation syste
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