DAM is a Three Letter Word

on Monday, November 19, 2007

Here are more wise sayings from the wise-owl-squirrel.

"When in doubt, chuck it out!" (my mantra while writing my thesis)
"When uncertain, quote some person!" (also useful in thesis writing)
"When you run dry, Plagiarize!" (okay, not such a good idea if you are writing your thesis)

However, I have spent a good one hour trying to find my Muse tonight but she is clearly AWOL. No spark of brilliance in this brain. Nope, just a lot of burned out light bulbs. So to the rescue is this interesting piece that has already made its way all round the internet but perhaps there may be one or two who have not seen it.

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

Sincerely, David L. Price
District Representative Land and Water Management Division

This is the actual response he sent back

Dear Mr. Price,
Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County.
Your certified letter dated 10/17/02 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 skilful 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 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 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 contact/harass them then.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to 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.

Ryan DeVries


Open Grove Claudia said...

Of course, around here DAM stands for Denver Art Museum. ;)

Pesky beavers! They really are a nuisance - but very cool indeed.

Molly said...

Bravo Mr.D e Vries! Cackle, cackle!

...Kat said...

the response of that letter was damn straight

...Kat said...

beavers are cool

Maddy said...

Excellent! I bet it's true too.

leslie said...

DAM FUNNY! rotflol

Cheryl said...

This dam story bears repeating. We have dam beavers in the stream by my house. They too are dam workers.

I couldn't help myself!

patterns of ink said...

This is funny and totally credible. I live one county away from this eloquent naturalist and can confirm that DeVries is a very common name in West Michigan.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Denver seems like a fun place. I know you have a bear looking into one of your buildings...is it the Convention Center? Don't think you have beavers but you do have prairie dogs!

Hear! Hear! Hero to all impoverished beavers.

I agree. Beavers are cool!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

welcome to my nut house! I would really like it to be true! Um, the letter that is and not my nut house!

My first rotfl. What a landmark!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Stop pretending to swear in front of us! Some of us are pretending to be gentlemen! Dam it! :)

thanks for collaborating the story. I'd love to know that it was true. Things are a mite bit bureaucratic over up in Michigan? ;)

Claire said...

Here we have a dam road, literally a road that goes over a large dam and connects two counties. After 9/11 the feds would no longer allow cars on the dam road, causing giant traffic headaches. That dam road!
btw - I love those dam beavers too!

meggie said...

Very good reply.

Josie said...

LGS, that is wonderful...! I hadn't seen this before, so thanks for sharing.

Janice Thomson said...

I haven't seen this either Lgs - what a hoot! Somehow though I can actually see this happening...

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Ask the beavers to build a new dam and new dam road! Just thinking way outside the box.


U R welcome.

I notice that you and Josie use the phrase "a hoot". This is a characteristic of the Pacific Northwest or bird lovers?

HeiressChild said...

i never seen this before either. cute! i saw a beaver down in a creek (or something similar) about 3-4 yrs ago.

Anonymous said...


Tai said...

Those dam bears!

Janice Thomson said...

The term originates from the verb to hoot which means to laugh. It is slang as far as I know and did not originate in North America. Norwegian people, for instance, used it long before I was ever around LOL. I like your idea of its association with bird lovers.

Gledwood said...

What troubles me the most is that in a far out countryside area like that who on EARTH is going to inform the council of a bloody beaver's dam? Or does the council go round dam hunting and somehow suppose people construct them themselves o what a bizarre world

etain_lavena said...

Fistly thank you for your condolences....appreciated.

That is really funny, full marks for that guys reply to them....hihihi:)

leslie said...

I only hope Mr. DeVries gets a decent reply to that brilliant letter. And that he gets to keep his debris.

DeVries DeBris.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

good to know that beavers are still active in your area.

Good to have you here.

Bear pooh? Pooh the Bear? Winnie the Pooh?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Interesting explanation. How about the phrase "I don't give a hoot!" Seems to have a different meaning there.

I can understand your bewilderment with officials examining beaver dams but having lived in beaver country for awhile, what happens is that after some heavy rains, part of a beaver dam may give way and cause a flash flood somewhere downstream. The authorities will then go upstream to find out why there was a flash flood and that is when they discover the beaver dams.

HugZ right back at you.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

You have a sharp wit. DeBris. Very clever. It even looks like a real name.

Jocelyn said...

It's been a few years since one of my students showed me that dam exchange.

I like the LGS mantras, btw.

Margaret said...

This is classic. Thanks for a great laugh today - a day full of laughs and Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to your and yours.

CS said...

Ha ha ha! What a fabulous response.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Hee hee. I am sure most students doing a thesis have similar mantras.

Thanks. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here but thank you for the sentiment and hope yours was a happy one.

wasn't it just? :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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