This was an actual letter from and a reply to the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, State of Michigan:
Mr. Ryan De Vries
Pierson, MI 49339
Dear Mr. De Vries:
SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N, R10W, Sec. 20;
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
unauthorized 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, 1998.
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.
David L. Price
Land and Water Management Division
Dear Mr. Price:
Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N, R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County
Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to
respond to. You sent out a great deal of carbon copies to a lot of
people, but you neglected to include their addresses. You will,
therefore, have to send them a copy of my response. First of all, Mr.
Ryan DeVries 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 supervised 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
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
first must fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of
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 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) -- be sure they are read the
Miranda rights first. As for me, I am not going to cause more flooding
or dam debris jams by interfering with these dam builders. If you want
to hurt these dam beavers -- be aware I am sending a copy of your dam
letter and this response to PETA. If your dam department seriously
finds all dams of this nature inherently hazardous and truly will not
permit their existence in this State -- I seriously hope you are not
selectively enforcing this dam policy -- or once again both I and the
Spring Pond Beavers will scream prejudice!
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'
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 1/31/98? 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
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 dam office via another government organization -- the dam USPS.
Maybe, someday, it will get there.
Stephen L. Tvedten
Submitted by Barb, Unionville, Pa.