The permit process

Steve Malone
August 12, 2013

As the site selection phase of the project is winding down we now turn to the actual permitting process.  After identifying the specific sites we want to occupy and what equipment will go where an application was submitted to the US Forest Service (USFS) for their approval.  After an initial review of the application the USFS issues a notification letter to the general public through various channels soliciting comments on our proposed work.  This request for comments or Scoping Letter asks that interested individuals or organizations submit their questions or comments to help the USFS consider all aspects of possible impacts of our experiment. 

To assist the public in better understanding our experiment and be better able to frame their comments and questions in a useful way we have generated a short document on the iMUSH methods and goals.  These and other possible documents of interest will be kept under the Background->Public Information pages.  Of course anyone is welcome to read any or all of the rest of the iMUSH web page in all its gory detail but this shorter document should be a simpler summary for many and includes photos of typical instrument installations.  The University of Washington also issued a Press Release on Aug 14 with an even briefer explanation of our project.

Once the USFS has questions and comments in hand they will arrange for detailed investigations of any appropriate sites including geologic, archaeologic and botanical review to make sure there is nothing extra sensitive that our even minimal installations might disturb.  They may require changes in locations or methods based on these findings. The cost of these USFS reviews will be covered by our research budgets.  We will not begin any installation work until permits are issued.

While our scientific interest is understanding the guts of the MSH magma system most of us are also avid hikers, campers, climbers, skiers, cyclists, etc who often use the forests for recreational purposes and thus are keenly aware of the value of minimum impact.  It also should be noted that while most of our sites are on USFS land many are on private or state land and our intention is to follow the same rigorous installation requirements imposed by the USFS at these other sites as well.   We have lots of experience doing just that; minimizing the impact of our research on the land while gaining useful insight into how the world works.