SO THIS IS WHERE OUR TAX DOLLARS GO!!
Where the drug trade is rampant, and our heads of state deal in graft, corruption and possibly treason.
Some of our governmental agencies have nothing better to do than send out letters harassing the innocent.
As bizarre as this may seem it is a true story.
State of Michigan
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 shows that no permits have been issued.
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 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 questions.
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 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.
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.
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 24.30101 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.
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.
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.
State Official Admits Knowing It's a Beaver Dam, Threatens Tenant Anyway
Editor's Note: After the Beaver Dam Story which appeared in Wednesday's Hot Topics, (http://www.reagan.com/HotTopics.main/HotMike/document-3.11.1998.3.html) in which a tenant was threatened for having a beaver dam on the property, we contacted the owner of the property, Stephen Tvedten of Marne, MI to get an update. As most people know, bureaucrats have little or no sense of humor. It turns out the Dept. of Environmental Quality Land & Water Management Div. bureaucrats were not amused by Stephen's December 17th letter and sent another letter in which they attempted to press the issue further.
The Tvedtens wrote a letter to their assemblyman, who responded as follows:
February 5, 1998
Dear Mr. Tvedten:
Thank you for forwarding to me copies of correspondence between you and David Price of the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) Grand Rapids Office concerning the beaver dam that is located on property that you own in Pierson, Michigan. I understand that the department initiated an investigation when a neighbor expressed concern that your tenant was maintaining the beaver dam without a permit. Apparently, individuals can maintain beaver dams only with a permit from the department.
Mr. Price has advised me that, upon personally inspecting the property, he determined that the dam has not been maintained either by beavers or humans. As a result, the DEQ has closed its case. You should have been notified of the department's decision by letter dated January 23, 1998.
Again, thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I would like to hear about other state matters that concern you. To that end, I invite you to join my Citizen Advisor group. Members periodically receive summaries of legislation that may generate a great deal of public interest, and register their opinion regarding the legislation on forms that are provided with the summaries. The group's input has helped me to better represent the constituents of the 89th house district. If you are interested in becoming a citizen advisor, please call my legislative aide, Joyce Rutt, at 1-800-JELLEMA, (1-800-535-5362).
By this time, Stephen Tvedten was no longer amused. The State seemed determined to pretend that this ridiculous situation was not really a ridiculous situation and tried to justify their dubious actions involving beaver dams. Below is Stephen's second letter to Mr. David Price
Stephen and Rosalind Tvedten
January 29, 1998
David L. Price
Dear Mr. Price Re: DEQ File #97-59-0023, T11N, R10W, Sec. 20, Pierson Township, Montcalm County
Once again, as you have asked in writing, I will give prompt attention to your 1/23/98 letter that I just received today.
First of all, I specifically (and initially) want to know who called you and supposedly observed and/or has alleged Mr. Ryan DeVries was ever actively and/or "artificially maintaining" these obvious beaver dams? I specifically want to know:
(1) On what days all of this "activity" supposedly took place?
Second, in all of your field inspections, did you ever find even one twig or any other evidence or material on either of the "abandoned" beaver dams that would indicate to you that any human had ever "artificially maintained" these beaver dams? If so, why do you now want to drop this matter? If not, how and/or why did you ever dare to write and/or suggest this ever happened?
Third, how did you determine (in winter) these beaver are no longer active? Did the people who called you again trespass on my land and kill these beavers like they did last time? Last time they broke open the dam, set traps and when the beaver came to repair the dam, the beaver were killed! Would you be kind enough to explain to me why several beaver would work all summer building dams and gathering a winter food supply and then simply abandon all of their work so they could either starve or freeze or be taken by predators? What are you going to do about the illegal trapping of my beavers (past and/or present)?
Fourth, I sincerely believe you should apologize in writing to Mr. DeVries and so should anyone and everyone else who has falsely accused him and/or tried to threaten and/or intimidate him into removing all of the "debris" he, obviously, did not put into the stream! For you to continue to even suggest in your latest letter to me that you still are giving any credibility to these false accusations, that Mr. Ryan DeVries was ever involved in any illegal, artificial or unauthorized activity does not, in my opinion, even begin to close this matter.
Your verbal comments to me on 1/8/98 that this always looked like "abandoned" beaver dams to you, even on your first visit, fills me with wonder and anger; why did you ever accuse Mr. DeVries of personally constructing these "debris" dams and then demand he totally remove these "debris" dams, which you clearly and already knew were constructed by beavers? For you or anyone to continue to suggest my Tenant is still, or was ever, "guilty" of artificially and/or illegally working on these beaver dams is, in my opinion, slanderous! How, if you knew originally these were "abandoned" beaver dams, could you ever demand Mr. DeVries completely remove them? Why not limit him to removing only the "work" he did? It was my understanding that government employees work for the people, who pay their salaries with their taxes, and not the other way around!
Your second field inspection showed "no further damming ability has occurred at the site;" are you really trying to suggest again Mr. DeVries has finally "stopped" his artificial maintaining of these beaver dams?
I would respectfully submit that if this is really what you (or any other people) would like me and/or the Governor and others in this State to believe about Mr. Ryan DeVries, Mr. DeVries should contact a lawyer. It was my understanding one is innocent until proven "guilty", or is one automatically guilty in Michigan as soon as he is accused? Or are you simply trying to CYA at Mr. DeVries expense?
Finally, as you can gather from the tone of this letter, I no longer find this matter at all funny. I want this type of bureaucratic harassment to completely cease. What are you going to do the next time some equine cloaca suggests "someone else" is again engaged in "illegal" and/or "artificial" activity? Threaten them again? Or will you take the time to treat them like human beings and get your facts straight first?
Stephen L. Tvedten
This information is reprinted with the written permission of Stephen L. Tvedten.