Mixed Bag

Madison The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers transferred ownership
of the Fox locks to the state of Wisconsin in late April, and that
move will allow the state to leverage $22 million in federal,
state, and local funds to assist in the rehabilitation and
maintenance of the locks system.

“After almost 20 years of economic, environmental, and
operational studies, the time has come for the state to take
ownership of the locks,” Gov. Jim Doyle said. “We will to work
closely with the Fox River Navigational System Authority (FRNSA) to
improve the Fox locks, and increase economic development and
tourism along the Fox River.”

On July 5, 1872, the federal government began operation of 19
locks on 37 miles of the Fox River between Green Bay and Menasha.
Today, only 17 locks remain. Three are in operation, and the
remaining 14 are in poor condition.

Opening up part of the lock system will result in increased
economic activity for the area.

State law requires that the state lease the operation of the
lock system to FRNSA, which is made up of local Fox Valley leaders
who will oversee the rehabilitation, operation, and maintenance of
the locks. The authority will be examining the lock system over
time to determine the feasibility and affordability of opening each
individual lock.

One concern is the movement of sea lamprey into the Fox River
system. Doyle said the state and FRNSA are committed to maintaining
the sea lamprey barrier at the Rapide Croche Lock in Wrightstown.
This permanent barrier prevents the spread of any exotic species up
the Fox River.

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