An economic impact study shows the Fox Locks System could generate $290 million in economic activity over a decade.

 

Imagine a fully operating Fox River Locks System open from Lake Winnebago to the Bay of Green Bay. That’s what an economic impact study considered, and based on several scenarios, the Fox River Lock System could generate as much as $290 million in total economic output over a ten year period and generate as many as 6,300 additional jobs. The study further indicates a fully operational lock system could generate $99 million in additional business investment over the same time period. The study was conducted by Dr. David Fuller of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh economics department.

The economic impact study measured four specific scenarios and the impact each would have over a ten year time period.

The first scenario assumes both the Menasha lock and the Rapide Croche lock remain closed. Under this scenario, the impact is projected:
• $42.9 million in additional total output

• $26 million in additional labor income
• 939 additional jobs
• $14.6 million in additional business investment


The second scenario assumes the Menasha lock is open and a improvements are made at the Rapide Croche lock. The Fox River Navigational System Authority (FRNSA) board of directors has approved a proposal to build a boat transfer/cleaning station at the Rapide Croche lock to enable navigation and continue to prevent the spread of invasive species. Under this scenario, the impact is projected:
• $210 million in additional total output

• $127.7 million in additional labor income
• 4,595 additional jobs
• $71.8 million in additional business investment

The second scenario would require FRNSA and the DNR to agree on a solution to prevent invasive species from entering Lake Winnebago and the Fox River at both the Rapide Croche barrier and the Menasha Lock. 

The third scenario assumes the Menasha lock remains closed and a boat transfer station is built at the Rapide Croche lock. Under this scenario, the impact is projected:
• $167.7 million in additional total output
• $102 million in additional labor income
• 3,669 additional jobs
• $57.3 million in additional business investment

The fourth scenario assumes that the entire Fox River is navigable through all 17 locks. Under this scenario, the impact is projected:
• $290 million in additional total output
• $176 million in additional labor income
• 6,339 additional jobs
• $99 million in additional business investment

From 2005-2015 FRNSA restored 16 of the 17 locks on the system at an investment of $14.5 million. The lock at Rapide Croche remains closed as a physical barrier to prevent invasive aquatic species from the Great Lakes invading the Fox River and Lake Winnebago. In early September 2015 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requested closing the Menasha lock to prevent the invasive round goby from entering Lake Winnebago. Currently the river is navigable from Menasha to Kaukauna; then from Wrightstown north to the bay of Green Bay.