Maintained by Alan D. Humbert
Attorney At Law
134 Main Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472

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 This is purported to be actual letter sent to a man named Ryan 
 DeVries by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality,  
 State of Michigan.  Wait till you read this guy's response-but read 
 the State's letter before you get to the response 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 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.
 
 Sincerely, David L. Price
 District Representative Land and
 Water Management Division
 
 This is the actual response sent back:
 
 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.  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 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 1/31/2002?  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.
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e-mail: alan@humbert-law.com

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