Three options being looked at for closed Menasha Lock

The Menasha Lock will remain closed again in 2017. (Photo Credit: WLUK)

MENASHA, Wis. (WLUK) -- The gateway between Little Lake Butte des Morts and Lake Winnebago will be closed once again this boating season.

The lock has been closed since early September 2015 when fishermen found the invasive round goby below the Neenah dam. The goal is to keep the gobies from entering Lake Winnebago.

“While they have in other areas become part of the food chain, we don't really know what's going to happen here,” said Bob Stark, CEO of the Fox River Navigation System Authority.

The Fox River Navigation System Authority is looking at three options to get boaters between the Fox River system and Lake Winnebago without the gobies coming too. The options are an overland route, which would take boats out of the water for cleaning, an electric barrier, and infusing carbon dioxide gas. The electric barrier and carbon dioxide options are in the early stages of being looked at.

“There is a whole lot of discovery that has to happen before we would get to that point where we would be able to say hey next summer we're going to have this thing,” said Stark.

While its highly unlikely the Menasha Lock will open at all this year, boaters will be able to ride more of the Fox River than before. Unlike last year, the Little Chute Lock will be open, allowing boaters to travel between Menasha and Kaukauna.

“Even with Menasha being closed, our usage numbers have actually been increasing,” said Stark.

Boaters at the Appleton Yacht Club have varying patience levels with the lock closure.

“I think they should be careful and make sure the round goby is not a problem,” said Dale Broeren of Fox Crossing.

“Precautions are good but how much time are they going to spend trying to find out what precautions we really need?” said Dick Miller of Darboy.

The board for the Fox River Navigational System Authority also decided Tuesday it wants to rebid for a transfer station at the Rapid Croche Lock near Wrightstown.

Two construction bids came in at more than $8 million apiece.

The goal of that transfer station is to keep invasive species from the Great Lakes out of the Lake Winnebago system.

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