Posted at 11:20 a.m. on April 5, 2019
The Brillion News
WRIGHTSTOWN – The water level of Lake Winnebago was near 3.30 ft. Friday morning, April 5, after another week of high inflows due to snow melt.
The weather over the last week has been generally cool with mixed clouds and sunshine which has helped slow the snow melt in the northern reaches of the Lake Winnebago watershed. Flood waters on the Fox River and Wolf River have been receding for a few days and inflows to Lake Winnebago have also been declining for much of the week.
The U.S.Army Corps of Engineers, which regulates the level of Lake Winnebago and the flow of water downstream through the Fox River dams and locks, said inflows over the last three days have declined steadily and have averaged 15,700 cfs. Outflows from the Neenah and Menasha Dams have averaged 15,350 cfs over the same time period.
Outflows currently exceed inflows for the first time since March 15th and the lake is expected to slowly decline over the weekend.
Lake Winnebago is presently about 1.5 ft above the level defined by the regulation strategy for this time of year.
Wrightstown Supt. of Public Works Andy Vickman said there is no certainty when the draw down of Lake Winnebago will be competed, but he does not expect flow in the Fox River to increase. However, there is no date certain for the river levels to return to normal summer levels.
As of Friday morning, all but two needle gates are open at the Neenah Dam and all gates are open at the Menasha Dam. Opening the last two needle gates would cause significant additional impacts to the lower Fox River.
The current gate configuration is expected to allow the lake to decline given the current basin conditions and weather forecasts. Heavy rains could change the plans.
The high flow along the lower Fox River from Neenah/Menasha to Green Bay, Wisconsin may create hazardous conditions and all users are asked to exercise extreme caution when on or near the river and especially near the dams. Localized flooding is also possible near the river. Never drive into flood waters.
Because of the danger, Vickman said plans to open the lower portion of the Mueller-Fox River Park, including the boat launch, is on hold. The village had originally planned to open the ramp on April 1.