Dam Project--- true story

The following is a genuine hoot. This was an actual letter sent to Ryan
De Vries from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, State of
Michigan. Wait till you read this guy's response - but read the entire
letter before you get to the response.

Mr. Ryan De Vries
2088 Dagget
Pierson, MI 49339

SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County

Dear Mr. De Vries,

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality
that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced
parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner
and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet
stream of Spring Pond. A permit must be issued prior to the start of
this type of activity. A review of the Department's files shows that no
permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that
this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of
the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the
Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the
Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially
failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at
downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently
hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you
to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the
stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush
forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be
completed no later than January 31, 2002.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so
that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff.

Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity
on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated
enforcement action. We anticipate and would appreciate your full
cooperation in this matter.

Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

David L. Price
District Representative Land and Water Management Division
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RESPONSE

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County

Dear Mr. Price

Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond
to.

First of all, Mr. Ryan De Vries is not the legal landowner and/or
contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan. I am the legal owner and
a couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of
constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet
stream of my Spring Pond.

While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I
think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of
natural building materials "debris." I would like to challenge your
department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any
place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could
ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam
ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their
dam work ethic.

As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must
first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam
activity.

My first dam question to you is this:
(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or
(2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said
dam request?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through
the Freedom of Information Act I request completed copies of all those
other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued.

Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301,
Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental
Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections
324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated. I have
several concerns.

My first concern is - aren't the beavers entitled to legal
representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and
are unable to pay for said representation - so the State will have to
provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that
either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing
flooding is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the
Department is required to protect.

In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather
than harassing them and calling their dam names. If you want the stream
"restored" to a dam free-flow condition - please contact the beavers -
but if you are going to, arrest them (they obviously did not pay any
attention to your dam letter being unable to read English). In my
humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their
unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and
water flows downstream. They have more dam right than I do to live and
enjoy Spring Pond.

If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection
lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers)
and the environment (Beavers' Dams).

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be
referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until
1/31/02? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there
will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention a real
environmental quality (health) problem in the area. It is the bears.

Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you
should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone.
If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The
bears are not careful where they dump!)

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to
contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to
your day office via another government organization - the dam USPS.
Maybe, someday, it will get there.

Sincerely,

Stephen L. Tvedtenluvsteen

Thanks to Cowboy for this one.

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