Lake Winnebago, Fox River experiencing high water levels and high flows

Published March 22, 2019

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District announces that the water level of Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin is currently near 2.12 feet Oshkosh Datum, and rising due to snowmelt runoff.  This level is well above the level defined by the regulation strategy for this time year, which is 1.40 feet.  The 1.40 feet drawdown target level was proactively lowered in late February from 1.70 feet, in consideration of the high amount of water contained in the snowpack across the region and to create more storage for the increased runoff.  The lowered drawdown target was reached in spite of inflows to Lake Winnebago being well above average all winter.

Inflow to Lake Winnebago has risen dramatically over the last week as the extensive snowpack has begun to melt.  Currently the inflow at Oshkosh is estimated to be near 18,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).  Flooding and high water impacts are occurring at numerous locations in the upper Fox and Wolf River basins including at Berlin, Omro and Princeton on the upper Fox and at Shiocton and New London on the Wolf.  At the same time, impacts are being felt at locations along the lower Fox River including, Little Lake Butte des Morts, Wrightstown, and De Pere/Green Bay areas.

Ahead of and as inflows to Lake Winnebago increased, gates at the Menasha and Neenah Dams were gradually opened.  At this time, only two needle gates at the Neenah Dam remain closed.  Opening these gates would immediately allow water to enter the Neenah Papers and Sonoco Papers facilities and encroach on the ThedaCare Hospital in Neenah, as well as add to the already high water levels and flows impacting the lower Fox. Outflow into the lower Fox River is near 11,000 cfs and will continue to rise as the level of Lake Winnebago rises.  Given current conditions, the lake level will continue to rise and high flows in the Fox River will continue.

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.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, is closely monitoring ice cover, water levels, flows and weather conditions as well as coordinating closely with local communities and users in the Fox/Wolf River system.

Further updates will be provided as necessary. Water levels and flows are updated regularly on the Detroit District website:

For additional questions, please contact Chadwick Shaw, chief, Fox River Operations, at 920- 380-7106 or or Keith Kompoltowicz, chief, Watershed Hydrology, at 313-226-6442 or


Lynn Rose
313-300-0662 (cell)

Release no. UNRELEASED