Dear Mr. De Vries:
SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; 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,
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, 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
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. 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
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
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 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 the Spring Pond Beavers and I will scream
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 1/31/98? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam
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
Stephen L. Tvedten