Ice bergs along the banks of the Kenai River encases private and public docks, grated walkways, and landing.
With record cold during November the Kenai River froze over earlier than usual. Then with warming temperatures and heavy rain run off the river rose causing glacial build up along the banks where many docks and park facilities have been located. According to Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker, the ice above Soldotna Creek Park, Rotary Park, and Swift Water is already causing damage, “We have a lot of river pack ice that has built up around some of our walkways and platforms and some of them have already sustained some damage but it’ll be hard to know how extensive the damage is until the ice goes out in the Spring, and then we’ll need to be watching to see that some of the sections that are already broken loose don’t go out with the ice flows. We’ll probably have to anchor them in so they don’t get carried out, and that’s going to be a lot of work in the middle of winter,” Boedeker told the Dispatch.
Boedeker also encouraged private property owners with docks or landings that may be encased in ice or broken loose to anchor them before spring so they won’t be carried down river. Efforts to melt the ice away from infrastructure in attempts to protect facilities would most likely be futile, “It would probably be a losing battle even with a million BTU unit like they have at the new bridge, but mother nature will do better,” added Boedeker. Natural forces have been at work on the Kenai River for millenniums and Boedeker believes that the fish habitat isn’t in any danger from the ice buildup, “We’ve designed our facilities so they don’t impact habitat areas, but ice scouring is a natural force on the river and just like the way ice can burn your lawn it may damage some areas, but it would be pure speculation to say if anything is happening right now,” said Boedeker.
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