Internet Articles (2015)
Editor's Note: This piece was written at least five years agoperhaps moreby an unknown author. I first received it on Sept. 20, 2002. I converted it into a pdf.file and saved it. It was one of those truly funny pieces you'll want to archive forever. The article is what is purported as a snail mail response to a bureaucrat named David L. Price from an irate landowner named Stephen L. Tvedte responding to the letter sent to Ryan DeVries. If it's not a facsimile of a real exchange, I would like to think it could be.
Mr. Ryan DeVries
File No. 97-59-0023
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:
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 in this location, and to restore the streams 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 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.
This is purported to be the snail mail response sent back to David Price:
Dear Mr. Price:
Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to. 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 supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of nature's 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:  Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond beavers or  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 Act of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.
I have several concerns. My first concern isaren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representationso 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, when 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 beaversbut if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they 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 rights 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 to more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/02? 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 your attention to real environmental quality (health) problem in this area. It is the bears!
Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be prosecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam beavers alone. If you are going to persist in investigating the dam beavers, 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.