This is a copy of an actual letter sent to Ryan DeVries, 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 DeVries
Pierson, MI 49339
SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20;
Site Location: Montcalm County
Dear Mr. DeVries:
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
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
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.
David L. Price
Land and Water Management Division
Dear Mr. Price,
Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20;
Reference your certified letter dated 12/17/2000 has been referred 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:
(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
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 P! art 301, Inland Lakes
and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act,
Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.3010,1 to
324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated. I have several
concerns. My first concern is aren't the beavers entitled to legal
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
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
harrass them and call 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
(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
1/31/2002 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
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 answering machine, I am sending this response to
your office via another government organization - the USPS. Maybe,
someday, it will get there.
Stephen L. Tvedten
The University of Texas at: Austin
Office Community Relations/Accounting unit
P.O. Box 7367
Austin, TX 78713