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Menasha Lock Site Public Visioning Workshop
Sat., January 23, 2016 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 Noon
Menasha Public Library Lower Level “Company E” Room 440 1st St, Menasha, WI

(KAUKAUNA, WIS.) Jan. 15, 2016 – The public is invited to a visioning workshop that will cover topics associated with planning for the future re-use of the former Menasha Lock Guard House site, a 2.4-acre site adjacent to the lock. Residents of the immediate area have been invited as well as elected and public officials. The Fox River Navigational System Authority, the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, and the Post-Crescent are hosting the event.

The City of Menasha’s Comprehensive Plan currently calls for this site and most of the riverfront along Water Street to be part of a mixed-use commercial core. Residents will participate in a program to include:
10:00 a.m.— Welcome / Background
10:15 a.m.— Group Exercises
11:30 a.m.— Reporting & Wrap Up
12:00 Noon— Adjourn

Together, residents and city officials will explore neighborhood identity and access, the Menasha lock’s connection in the region and in the immediate community, and complementary land use options. Regional planners will also discuss how the lock area my anchor and catalyze future riverfront and downtown development opportunities in the area.

The Menasha Lock has been operated continually from the 1850s to the present. Major reconstruction occurred in the 1970s when steel gates were added and in 2004, the Fox River Navigational System Authority was established by the State to revive the system. Today, the Menasha Lock has become a featured landmark in the system located next to the popular Fox Cities Trestle – Friendship Trail.

ABOUT THE Fox River Navigational System Authority
The Fox River Navigational System Authority (FRNSA) was created to manage the Fox River Locks following the transfer of the system from the Army Corps of Engineers to the State of Wisconsin in 2004. This transfer was completed by a state statute that established the FRNSA and specified operational duties including the repair, rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of the locks system. There are 17 locks on the Fox River that are accessible to boaters and citizens April-October. For more information visit


September 2015

(KAUKAUNA, WIS.) Sept. 28, 2015 – The Fox River Navigational System Authority, (FRNSA) will reopen the closed Menasha lock in order move larger boats through the lock to Lake Winnebago en route to winter storage. The FRNSA is working cooperatively with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to manage the special lockage Thursday, October 1.

On September 3, the DNR asked to close the Menasha lock due to reports of finding an invasive fish called the round goby near the Neenah Dam. The Menasha lock is the southernmost lock on the system and links Lake Winnebago to the Fox River.

The round goby is an invasive species already found in the Great Lakes and the bay of Green Bay. The DNR is concerned the fish could invade the waters of the Fox River and be transmitted to Lake Winnebago, home to sport fishing species such as walleye and lake sturgeon.

According to Bob Stark, CEO of the FRNSA, the lock closure left many boaters stranded and unable to get to their home ports. “Many of these boats are too large to trailer and need to return to their home ports for winter storage,” Stark said.

The DNR is coordinating how the water will be chemically treated to ensure no goby can pass the lock during this special operation on Thursday, October 1. Officials from the DNR will be on site to manage the chemical treatment of the water to ensure the lock will be free of the goby during the transfer.

“We have identified several boat owners who will be moving their boats at this time, but there still may be boaters in the community who have not contacted us, so we ask that you get in touch with us as soon as possible.” Stark says this will be the only opportunity to move large boats through the lock before the end of the season on October 4.

Boat owners who want to move their boats through the lock are asked to contact the Authority at (920)759-9833 or email at

KAUKAUNA, WIS.—September 3, 2015–The Fox River Navigational System Authority (FRNSA) has proactively closed the Menasha lock in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources while the DNR determines if the round goby fish is in the Lake Winnebago environment. This is the southernmost lock on the Fox River and the first lock that links Lake Winnebago to the lower Fox River. Boaters will not be able to travel from Little Lake Butte des Morts to Lake Winnebago and back through the lock system while the lock is closed. Normal lock operations will continue at the Appleton Locks, Cedars Lock, Little Kaukauna lock at Little Rapids, and De Pere Lock.

“We realize this is an inconvenience for boaters on the Labor Day weekend, but putting the Lake Winnebago environment at risk to an invasive species such as the round goby would have long-term consequences for the entire state and for sport fishing in Lake Winnebago,” said Bob Stark, CEO of the Authority.

For updated information on when the Menasha lock will be open, please access the Authority’s Facebook page under “Fox Locks.”

Boaters are still able to trailer boats to public boat launches and can access the Fox River at these launches:

  • 9th Street, Menasha
  • Lutz Park, Appleton
  • Sunset Park, Kimberly

Boaters have access to Lake Winnebago at many public launches including

  • Jefferson Park, Menasha
  • Doty Park, Neenah
  • REC Park, Neenah

Boaters can also launch boats from any one of approximately 60 locations on Lake Winnebago. For information on public boat launches, please visit

The FRNSA maintains the lock system linking Lake Winnebago to the bay of Green Bay. The 16 locks on the system were recently restored to working order, however the lock at Rapide Croche has been closed for almost 30 years and will remain sealed as a barrier to invasive species such as the round goby. The Rapide Croche lock is located south of Wrightstown.

As a preventive measure, the FRNSA tests waters north of the closed Rapide Croche lock and south of the lock to ensure that invasive species have not breached the lock or the dam. Water samples are tested every two weeks in the summer and fish are caught using dip nets and traps. “We have sampled waters at Rapide Croche, Kaukauna, and Kimberly regularly and have not found the round goby at any of these locations,” said Lawrence University biology professor Dr. Bart DeStasio. DeStasio has been leading the Authority’s testing program for ten years.

Although the Authority recently celebrated the restoration of the locks, the system itself has not been fully operational for about 30 years. “In three decades there has been no water running through the lock system from Lake Winnebago to the bay of Green Bay,” Stark said. “Water still is not flowing through all five Kaukauna locks and the Little Chute locks are dry due to bridge construction. If invasive species have breached the system, it’s a possibility there was another entry point,” Stark said.

The Authority’s long-term plan for the lock system calls for keeping the lock at Rapide Croche sealed as a barrier to aquatic invasive species. Stark says the Authority will continue to work collaboratively with the DNR while it tests the waters of Lake Winnebago.