Berrien County drain commissioner awarded for innovation, excellence

Published 8:24 am Friday, March 1, 2019

ST. JOSEPH — Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher J. Quattrin received the 2019 Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners “Innovation and Excellence” Award during the association’s winter conference on Thursday, Feb. 14 at the Radisson Hotel in Kalamazoo. The award recognizes work that was performed on the Lighthouse Creek Drain in New Buffalo.

Lighthouse Creek Drain is a county drain which outlets directly to Lake Michigan from Water Street, south of downtown in New Buffalo.

The problem sought to alleviate long-term flooding issues within residential areas and at the drinking water treatment plant within the City of New Buffalo, which is situated along Lighthouse Creek. The project secured easements and established the natural watercourse as a county drain.

The challenge of the project was to manage the flooding while protecting the natural resources, all within a cost-effective solution.

The end result stabilized the upstream hydrology, and dramatically increased the water conveyance in the downstream channel. What this means is that the area is now a high-quality wetlands said officals. Salmon and other wildlife have re-appeared in the channel.

The criteria for the award included creativity in design, environmental sustainability, aesthetics and cost effectiveness.

Team members on this project were Selge Construction Company Inc., of Niles; Spicer Group Engineers, Byron Center, Michigan; GEI Consultants, Allendale, Michigan; and Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes, PLC., Okemos, Michigan.

“We are honored to be have been selected as one of two recipients for this annual award,” Quattrin said. “In addition to achieving a functional solution for ending recurring flooding problems, the real thrill was seeing salmon return to the area. This will become a legacy project.”