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Location: Home of the Brave, Land of the Free
Joined: 05/13/2005
Posts: 12
Beavers and the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality


FYI: This is true. The agency eventually dropped the issue. You can read more about this particular issue by clicking on “snopes.com” and searching for “Dam! Beavers Block Stream.”…

This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries by the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, State of Michigan.

This guy's response is hilarious, but read the State's letter before you
get to the response letter.

(State's letter)

SUBJECT: DEQ File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20;
Montcalm County

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:

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
show 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 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, 2003.
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 District Representative
Land and Water Management Division

This is the actual response sent back:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County.

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 12/17/02 has been handed to me to respond
to. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget,
Pierson, Michigan..

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 natures 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

My first dam question to you is:

(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring PondBeavers.... 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, Act451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections
32430101 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 them 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... 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 for more
elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2003? The
Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will
be no way for you or your dam staff to 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.

Thank You,

Ryan DeVries & The Dam Beavers

cowgal's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 03/10/2002
Posts: 1787
Beavers and the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality

HA HA HA!! Laugh

Location: Alabama
Joined: 08/25/2003
Posts: 615
Beavers and the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality

That's a good one! Thumbs up

Whats sad is the state can't tell between a beaver dam and manmade dam.

Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1637
Beavers and the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality

Trap and Trail

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