Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Dam

Caution: This is a rather long post, but well worth it to read to the end.

This is a 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.

Sincerely,
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.

THANK YOU.
RYAN DEVRIES & THE DAM BEAVERS


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7 comments:

Kristine said...

That's too funny.

Darrell Henley said...

One of the best letters I've ever read. Well worth the time to read. I'd love to know what the response was.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Kristine – I like it when citizen have the guts to answer back to government stupidity in such a humorous way and highlight bureaucratic ignorance.

Darrel – Welcome to my blog. I too would like to read the response and actually searched for it but could not find it. It’s quite possible that the government office in question is too embarrassed and rests the case in silence, instead of adding fuel to the fire.

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll and the kind words you had to say. I will return the favor and you to my blogroll.

-Othmar Vohringer-

BIll Anderson said...

Is this for real? If so, it's too dam funny!

No...It can't be...is it?

Othmar Vohringer said...

Bill Anderson- Sorry for the late reply to your welcomed comment. “No...It can't be...is it?” It is real.

Dana said...

I wonder what their dam response was?? Hilarious!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Well Dana, according to the information I have the bureaucrats never replied to this letter and the let the matter just slide. I guess they didn’t want to make themselves look more foolish than they already did.

-Othmar Vohringer-

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