A dam good letter

dam1Spring Pond

Here’s an example of the tyranny and idiocy of petty government bureaucrats.

The State of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality sent a stern letter to Ryan DeVries about “unauthorized construction activity” on a pond on his property.

This is verified to be true by Truth or Fiction. Please note that the letters below are the real letters, instead of the version that’s circulating on the Internet and via email which contains several mistakes.

First, the gummint bureaucrat’s letter.

INTERNET: http://www.deq.state.mi us

December 17, 1997

Mr. Ryan DeVries
2088 Dagget
Pierson, MI 49339

SUBJECT: DEQ … File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec 20; Lycoming 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 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, 2013.

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


It turns out that Stephen Tvedten, not Ryan DeVries, is the legal owner of the property. DeVries was Tvedten’s tenant.

Here is Mr. Tvedten’s response:


David L. Price
District Representative
Land and Water Management Division
Grand Rapids District Office
State Office Bldg., 6th Floor
350 Ottawa, N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2341

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

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to.  You sent out a great deal of carbon copies to a lot of people, but you neglected to include their addresses.  You will, therefore, have to send them a copy of my response.

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, nor authorize their dam project, I think they would be highly offended you call their skillful use of natural building materials “debris”.  I would like to challenge you to attempt to emulate their dam project any dam time and/or any dam place you choose.  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.

dam2As to your dam request the beavers first must 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 dam beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?  If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, please send me completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits.  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.  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.

dam3The Department’s dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing dam flooding is proof we should leave the dam Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling their dam names.  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 first.  As for me, I am not going to cause more dam 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 dam State – I seriously hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy – or once again both I and the Spring Pond Beavers will scream prejudice!

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their dam unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream.  They have more dam right than I to live and enjoy Spring Pond.  So, as far as I and the beavers are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more dam elevated enforcement action now.  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.


Stephen L. Tvedten

xc: PETA


Since Mr. Tvedten wrote that brilliant hilarious letter in 1998, it has gone viral. Incredibly,  seven years later in 2005, another Michigan State bureaucrat, Randy L. Stearns, sent Tvedten yet another letter about the beaver dam. Here’s Tvedten’s response:

Dear Mr. Randy L. Stearns,

Your April 4, 2005 letter to my wife and me regarding the killing of the newest Spring Pond Beavers and the removal of their dam to slowly release the water has been handed to me to answer. First of all, your letter certainly reminds me of a similar complaint dated December 17, 1997 incorrectly sent via certified mail to my tenant Ryan Devries; which is now posted on the following web site http://www.getipm.com/personal/dam.htm and elsewhere around the world. See copy below:

Secondly, Your letter contains several mistakes – my wife’s name is Rosalind and there are several beaver dams not just one and there simply is no way these dams could “suddenly break apart” especially if you allow the beaver to continue to maintain their various dams.

I also read your Mission Statement – ‘By using the most effective manner possible, and without disrespect to the environment, the Road Commission for Montcalm County is committed to provide a reasonably safe road and bridge network for the public and commercial users.” Do you consider the killing of the Spring Pond beavers to be “respect” for the environment? The last time my dam neighbors Tom Brokaw called him (please see the just one of the various websites located at:- http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/2004/articles2/michigan_deq_and_the_dam_builder.htm ) killed the beavers and then
complained to the DEQ about the “danger” that he now faced. Now apparently you are the next official to “sense the potential “danger” and then demand the death of the dam beavers who are only flooding my property; because “your 36-inch culvert may not be able to handle a potentially large amount of water” …”if the dam was to suddenly break apart”. I think if you think about it seriously that you will still be able to “provide a reasonably safe road and bridge network for the public and commercial users” if you let the dam beavers tend to their dam business and you tend to your own.

Third, Since my initial dam response I had to Respond to another dam Inquiry as to whether the “Dam Beaver” Letter is real – see:
http://www.getipm.com/personal/dam2.htm . Now I will post your letter at least on my website and confirm once again that I STILL WANT THE DAM BEAVERS TO LIVE!

We have no intention of removing “the” beaver dam, nor do we want the Road Commission to have a private contractor trap the beaver and open the dam to slowly release the water? If you leave the beaver alone there simply will never be (without a large amount of dynamite) a chance that all of the various beaver dams will “suddenly break apart”.

Sincerely, Stephen L. Tvedten

Copies to:  PETA


Bravo, Mr. Tvedten!

H/t FOTM’s WildBillAlaska


11 responses to “A dam good letter

  1. Dam beavers are industrious little fellows. My town public works tried to get rid of a beaver dam near us and within 6 months those industrious beavers not only rebuilt it, bigger and better, they also built a second one. I suppose the second was meant to be insurance… Definitely enjoyed the read this morning.


  2. Awesome! :0)


  3. excellent.these bureaucrats or whatever you would like to call them,have absolutely no commonsense. Waste of space,time and money they are.


  4. What a great way to start Monday and the week! I read this when it first came out, and now your industrious beavering has brought the wonderful responses to our attention. Many thanks, and it’s already sent to every member of my Meeting for Worship, as well as NY state, Toronto, and Chile. Kudos and roses to you!!


  5. Did these idjiots require that he prove he didn’t build the dams? (They can’t seem to grasp the concept of beavers and that those beavers build dams.)


    • Think ‘bureaucrat, desk job’, no need to go outside if you work in “Land and Water Management Division” is there? Such a position allows the chair’s occupant to visualise all the land and water s/he can possibly imagine, and when that exhausting task’s done, why it’s time to pack it up and head home!


  6. I don’t even know where to begin.



  7. Reblogged this on aplusgardener and commented:
    The Dam Politics Gets a Dam good Reply.


  8. Really it is damm good. Thanks for sharing.


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