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. 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 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
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
David L. Price
Land and Water Management Division
Dear Mr. Price:
Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N, R10W, Sec 20;
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 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 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 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
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 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 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 451of 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 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
1/31/98? 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 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 dam
office via another government organization - the dam USPS. Maybe, someday,
it will get there.
Stephen L. Tvedten