FW: The Dam

I suspect Ron Getty wrote the letter of response (see below).

Best, Michael

The Dam
This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries by the
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of
Pennsylvania. This guy's response is hilarious, but read the
State's letter before you get to the response letter.

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
Pennsylvania 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, 2006.

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 and Water Management Division.

Here is the actual response sent back by Mr. DeVries:

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

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 12/17/02 has been handed to me to
respond to. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088
Dagget Lane, Trout Run, Pennsylvania.

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 Pennsylvania 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 1/31/2006? 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.


Dear Dr. Mike;

Nope - not guilty. But here's more from google on the dam beavers and what really went on. The first google is the one I read when the dam beavers first was published - then all the other articles. Damn interesting on how the story grew and grew and grew.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian