Who is the FRNSA?

Posted on Aug 29, 2019 by

Many people have asked us for more information on the Fox River Navigational System Authority, so here’s  more information on the organization and what we do.

What is the Fox River Navigational Authority’s responsiblity?

  • The Fox River Navigational System Authority manages the 17 locks on the Fox River. Of the 17 locks, 16 have been restored to full working order and are a recreational, historic, and economic asset to northeast Wisconsin.
  • The lock system was transferred from the Army Corps of Engineers to the State of Wisconsin in 2004.
  • Wisconsin statute 237 established the FRNSA and specified operational duties.
  • As specified in Chapter 237 of Wisconsin State Statutes, the Authority’s primary mission is to repair, rehabilitate, replace, operate, and maintain the locks system.

What does “navigational system” mean?

According to Wisconsin statute 237:“Navigational system” means locks, harbors, real property, structures, and facilities related to navigation that are located on or near the Fox River, including locks, harbors, real property, structures, and facilities that were under the ownership or control of the federal government on April 1, 1984. “Navigational system” does not include dams on the Fox River.

Local board of directors runs the Authority

The Fox River Navigational System Authority functions as an independent state authority with a nine-member board of directors appointed by the Governor. The board includes two members each from Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago counties; and three representatives one from the Department of Natural Resources, one from the Department of Transportation and one from the State Historical Society. The Authority leases the lock system from the state of Wisconsin.

Who manages the waterways?

The Army Corps of Engineers has oversight for the waters of the Fox River and Lake Winnebago. Their mission is: The Detroit District’s major mission is to investigate, plan, design, construct, operate and maintain Congressionally authorized water resource projects that are related to navigation, flood control, beach erosion and other activities. 

The U.S. Coast Guard, Ninth District, has jurisdiction over navigable waterways. The Coast Guard makes navigability determinations regarding specific waterways or portions of waterways in order to determine its jurisdiction on those waterways. These navigability determinations are made for Coast Guard use at the request of Coast Guard officials and are subject to change or modification.

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