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Lighthouse Creek Stormwater Management

The Lighthouse Creek culvert project is under the jurisdiction of Berrien County Drain Commission.  The Drain Commission is currently in the easement acquisition phase of the project.  The scope of work includes constructing a new culvert under Water Street and raising the berm at the water plant lagoon.


Lighthouse Creek empties into Lake Michigan about 3,000 feet southwest of the mouth of the Galien River.  Here is a map of the Lighthouse Creek watershed basin:

Topgraphic Map of Lighthouse Creek Drainage

The Indiana-Michigan state line (pink) and the City of New Buffalo-New Buffalo Township line (red) are shown on this map.  The Lighthouse Creek watershed basin is shown with blue, including six sub-areas.

Of the 4.1 square miles in the Lighthouse Creek watershed basin:

  • Approximately 3.2 square miles are in New Buffalo Township (about 78%)
  • Approximately 0.47 square miles are in City of New Buffalo (about 12%)
  • Approximately 0.43 square miles are in Springfield Twp, IN (about 10%)

The City of New Buffalo has been researching options to resolve potential flooding and related concerns, especially the possibility of NPDES permit violations due to the close proximity of the City's Water Filtration Plant.

In June 2010, Christopher B. Burke Engineering completed the Lighthouse Creek Flooding Evaluation report for the City.

In October 2010, the City Engineer, NIES Engineering, prepared the Preliminary Engineering Design Memorandum:  Water Treatment Plant Floodwall to Protect Backwash Settling Basin.

In June 2011, City staff and NIES Engineering met with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (Lighthouse Creek Meeting – July 2011.)

In September 2011, City staff and NIES Engineering met with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Lighthouse Creek Meeting – September 2011.)

In September 2012, City staff and NIES Engineering met with the Berrien County Drain Commission Office (Lighthouse Creek Meeting – September 2012.)

In May 2013, City staff and NIES Engineering met with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (Lighthouse Creek Meeting – May 2013.)

In June 2013, City staff and NIES Engineering met with the Berrien County Drain Commissioner (Lighthouse Creek Meeting – June 2013.)

Also in June, 2013, NIES Engineering gave a presentation on Lighthouse Creek to the City Council during their Regular Meeting.  The City Council will review this issue during their July 16, 2013 Regular Meeting.

In July of 2013, City Council approved a resolution to transfer jurisdiction of the Lighthouse Creek to the Berrien County Drain Commission.

September 14, 2008 — The Hurricane Ike storm pattern hit New Buffalo hard.

Here is the mouth of Lighthouse Creek the day after. 

Flood waters of Lighthouse Creek - September 15, 2008


Here is the bank of Lighthouse Creek – also on September 15, 2008.

Floodwaters of Lighthouse Creek


More recently, here is the Creek looking downstream from Water Street on November 14, 2011:

What Lighthouse Creek looks like under normal conditions