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A True story about Beaver Dams and how they benefit nature.

Moraine Lake Sequoia National Park This is a true story, a little funny, about beaver dams and how they benefit nature of all types.  The deer, ducks and all kinds of other animals are kept alive by beaver dams.
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This was an actual letter sent from the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality, State of Michigan. Wait until you read the response - but read
the entire letter before you get there!


Mr. Ryan De Vries
2088 Dagget Pierson, MI 49339

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

Dear Mr. De Vries:

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 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, 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.

David L.
District Representative
Land and Water Management Division


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

Dear Mr.

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 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: (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 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).

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 said 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 1/31/2002? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and 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.
Aggrieved citizen

Webmasters Response to this story.
Dear Friend
It's dam good to hear from you and I appreciate your dam letter.  It's a dam good thing that we are friends or I would think that this dam letter was just a hoax.  Years ago I went to San Diego, five hundred miles from my house, and ended up staying in a dam emergency shelter since I was in a dam snow storm in the mountains.  I drove all the way there to see the Omni Max theater's space movie that the astronaut said was dam good and was so much like he was really in space, I though that I should get off of my dam arise and see the dam movie.  But being one day late due to the dam storm the dam theater changed all of the moves that dam day.  I said dam and watched every separate movie that they had that very day. 
This is the dam truth.  The best dam documentary that I have ever seen was an Omni Max movie about beaver dams.  I was totally amazed how dam smart the beavers were when they surveyed the sites for the dams and built their dam, dams.  The movie must have taken several years to make because they showed the beavers growing up and then leaving home to venture off to survey a place suitable for the construction of a dam that would suit their safety and winter needs. 
If people were this dam smart, we wouldn't have the dam problems that society is having today.  I absolutely don't know how the dam photographers made the videos and followed the beavers so closely as they built their dams.  It was dam good work from both the beavers and the dam videographers. 
But there was something really interesting about these beaver dams and that was after years and years of maintaining this dam, the lake would eventually fill up and leave a meadow in the middle of the woods allowing the survival of other species of animals like the deer.  If I was drinking a beer I would say the dam deer, but they only used the benefits of the dam, years after it was built.  All of this is the truth.  It shows how the beavers are responsible for keeping other species of animals alive and completing the cycle that keeps all of nature viable.
I'm attaching two pictures.  The first is one of the meadows that the beavers built hundreds of years ago.  In the back ground you will see Mt. Kaweah, then a row of mountains in which the third mountain down is called Black Kaweah.  We climbed Black Kaweah on this trip and looked at glacier lakes that formed toward their tops.  It was absolutely beautiful.  If you look very closely at the edges of the meadow, you can see deer eating.
 Mt. Kaweah and the Kaweah Mountain Chain
The next picture is the remnants of the lake that the dam beavers made that created the meadow.  Until I watched this movie about the beaver dams, I always wondered why there was a huge meadow in the middle of the forest.  The picture of the lake shows Cal, Ted and me standing in the water.  Just seconds before this photo was taken, I broke my toe and it was a bloody mess.  I still had to hike another forty miles and then climb Mt. Whitney after this before we could get to the Owens valley and head home.  The lake is called Moraine Lake which is on the top of the Chagupa Plateau next to the Big Arroyo. 





Moraine Lake Sequoia National Park

This year this whole expedition will be placed on the web and it has absolutely fantastic photos.
But thank you very much Friend, that was a dam good story.
Jeff the Explorer.


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