Frequently Asked Questions


Where does the FWA get it's income?

We receive our monies primarily from user fee sticker sales.

  • We also receive, to a much lesser degree, some monies from grants for our clean-up activities and safety items.
  • We receive revenue from the sale of dredged material as topsoil.
  • We do not receive any monies from property taxes since we have no authority to impose property taxes.

FWA Jurisdiction

Our jurisdiction includes the 15 interconnected lakes, which make up the Fox River Chain O’Lakes and 30 miles of the Fox River stretching from the Wisconsin State line to the Algonquin Dam, as well as their tributaries and over 40 miles of navigable channels.  Although our physical jurisdiction is limited to the Waterway itself, our partnerships with local landowners and organizations, and governmental agies allow the Fox Waterway Agency to cooperate in many land-based projects that affect the waterway.

How many employees work at the Fox Waterway full-time?

14 employees. (1) Executive Director, (3) Office Staff, (1) Field Superintendent, and (9) Field Staff. During the summer months the number varies.

RUMORS - 2016 FWA FEMA Money Clarification

Facebook commentors regularly cite the article published in 2016 by the “Chicago Tribune” which was misconstrued and caused people to throw stones at the Agency.

The FWA did not use, receive or lose any of the $9 million FEMA funds.  The $9 million FEMA funds, for us to receive FEMA funds, the FWA would have to perform the work and utilize current FWA funds and then FWA would get reimbursed directly from FEMA within their time constraints.

The FWA did not have the budget or resources to do $9 million dollars worth of work in the time frame required so the FWA did not pursue the money from FEMA once that was determined.



When and where are the board meetings?

Generally they are the 4th Wednesday of each month, except during the holiday season, at our office, 45 S. Pistakee Lake Road, Fox Lake. See the meeting schedule on our website under “Meeting Agendas”


When do buoys get placed and removed?

The buoys start being placed May 1st and are completed by Memorial Day. The buoys are removed between October 1st and October 15th.

How does the waterway decide where to place buoys?

We are responsible for Pistakee Lake up to the Wisconsin state line. We place them based on “safety” considerations and to mark the channels. Per our master ordinance book and IDNR administrative code, south of Pistakee they are installed and maintained by the IDNR located at the Stratton Lock and Dam.

How can I purchase a homeowner buoy?

How much does a buoy cost?

The fee is $250 per buoy.


The weeds are taking over my channel!

We do not handle the removal of weeds or algae in the system. More information can be found on our website or you can contact the DNR at 847-608-3100.

I have a debris concern, what do I do?

I submitted a debris customer concern online, now what?


Where can I find information on duck blinds?


Why can't we boat during flood season?

Yes, a Fox Waterway sticker is required for any boat out on the water that is being used as a mode of transportation with the exception of paddle boards. The state did away with the water usage stamp for non-motorized.


Where can I launch?

We do not have public launching at our location but the Chain O Lakes State Park in Spring Grove off Wilmot road has a free public launch. Otherwise, you have to call around to marinas and see if they offer launching and what the fee would be. Our app has more information on locations of marinas otherwise please see the Boating Lake County website.


I want to redo my pier.

The Army Corps and the DNR are the ones who permit the changes made to existing piers or the permitting for a new pier. More information can be found here

Can I build a pier?


What is the status of the Trinski's Island project?

Currently, the Trinski Island project is under review with the Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory branch awaiting approval for a permit.

Where can I find out what the current FWA projects are?

The dredging schedule is located here

Who can we talk to about our area being dredged?

Come to a public board meeting to address your concerns. A FWA dredging application can be downloaded and printed from our website or pick one up in our office.


Is a sticker required for my non-motorized kayak?

Yes, a Fox Waterway sticker is required for any boat out on the water that is being used as a mode of transportation with the exception of paddle boards. The state did away with the water usage stamp for non-motorized.

How much are the stickers?

Refer to the sticker fee schedule available at our office or by clicking here

Where can I pick-up the FWA sticker?

You can pick the sticker up in our office at 45 S Pistakee Lake Rd or one of our satellite locations which are listed here

Why is the sticker more if bought from a satellite location?

The satellite locations charge a convenience fee they keep on top of the price of the sticker and any additional processing fees.

My state sticker is expired or I need a new state sticker.

Unfortunately, we do not handle state registrations at our office. The DNR no longer sends out reminders when stickers are expiring. The information can be found on the decal on the side of the vessel and the year that is listed is the year on September 30th that it’ll expire. To renew the sticker, you can go online to the DNR’s website ( or you can call 1-866-867-3542.

I ordered m sticker online, now what?

Where do I place my FWA sticker?


What are the hours of the Stratton Lock and Dam?

May 1st– Sept 30th: 8AM- Midnight

October 1st– 31st: 8AM- 8PM

Closed November 1st through April 30th


Where can I submit a photo or video I took while on the waterway?

We’d love to share your photo or video on our website and/or social media.  Contact Anthony Hersick at for further information.


Who controls the water levels?

What is Summer Pool?

When does the drawdown begin?