IJMC It's Not Your Dam Problem

                   IJMC - It's Not Your Dam Problem

Really, it's not. It's all about the bears. I promise. The beavers are 
just misunderstood, that's all. Course, since they don't speak any 
English, that could be why they're misunderstood. Ok, at this point, I'm 
no longer sure I'm speaking English, so I'm going to write a paper and go 
to bed. Ugh. G'night all...have a good one.                         -dave

 This was an actual letter from and reply to the Michigan Department
 of Environmental Quality.
 State of Michigan
 Reply To: Grand Rapids District Office
 State Office Building 6th Floor
 350 Ottawa NW
 Grand Rapids MI 49503-2341
 John Engler, Governor
 Department Of Environmental Quality
 Hollister Building, PO Box 30473,
 Lansing MI 48909-7973
 Russell J. Harding, Director
 December 17, 1997
 Mr. Ryan DeVries
 2088 Dagget
 Pierson, MI 49339
 Dear Mr. DeVries:
 SUBJECT:        DEQ File No. 97-59-0023-1 T11N, R10W,
 Sec. 20, Montcalm County
 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 
 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 strewn 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
 David L. Price
 District Representative
 Land and Water Management Division

 ----Reply Letter----
 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, nor
 authorize their dam project, I think they would be highly offended
 you call their skillful use of natural building materials "debris."
 I would like to challenge you to attempt to emulate their dam
 project any dam time and/or any dam place you choose. I believe I
 can safely state there is no dam 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 dam request the beavers first must fill out a dam permit
 prior to the start of this type of dam activity, my first dam
 question to you is: are you trying to discriminate against my Spring
 Pond Beavers or do you require all dam beavers throughout this State
 to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating
 against these particular beavers, please send me completed copies of
 all those other applicable beaver dam permits. 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.
 My first concern is - aren't the dam beavers entitled to dam legal
 representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute
 and are unable to pay for said dam 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 dam flooding is proof we should leave the dam
 Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling
 their dam names.
 If you want the dam stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition
 contact the dam beavers - but if you are going to arrest them (they
 obviously did not pay any dam attention to your dam letter-being
 unable to read English)- be sure you read them their dam Miranda
 rights first. As for me, I am not going to cause more dam 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 dam State - I
 seriously hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy -
 or once again both I and the Spring Pond Beavers will scream
 In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a
 right to build their dam unauthorized dams as long as the sky is
 blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more
 dam right than I to live and enjoy Spring Pond.  So, as far as the
 beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for
 more dam elevated enforcement action now. Why wait until 1/31/98?
 The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will
 be no dam 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; bears are actually
 defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be
 persecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam 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.  


 Stephen L. Tvedten
 xc: PETA

IJMC June 1998 Archives