the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I Hate Permits and the People Who Issue Them

whew. two posts in one day. that's become a rarity for me. but i just cannot contain my pissed off-ness, and there is currently no one here for me to vent to. so i will vent to the internet instead.

now, the source of my pissed off-ness. i'm sure you remember last month when my life consisted of permit application after permit application. well, most of these permitting agencies promised a response within two to three weeks. a month later, i still had heard nothing from any of them. so i sent an email to the chick who first sent me the application info. and a couple of days later (read: today), i get two emails from two separate agencies saying that they've (allegedly) been trying to call me, but they got no answer and had no way to leave a message. here's the simple explanation for that: the entirety of dauphin island has been without power from 6 am to 6 pm for the past two days while the power folks do... something. i don't know. i just know that the sea lab wasn't supposed to have power yesterday or today.

anyway, i'm really pissed because when i called these people back, the chick i talked to acted like i'm the biggest moron on the face of the planet. the first guy i tried to call wasn't in the office, so i left a message explaining that the lab has been without power and that i would call him back tomorrow. so then i tried to call the other person who had contacted me, and got the girl who thinks i'm stupid. the first words she said to me went something like this: "yeah, i think that collecting seagrass is going to be a no go. see, seagrasses are in decline and our park is no exception, etc, etc." like i'm dumb and don't know that seagrasses are declining all over the freakin globe. i only study them for a living and have been doing so for the past 5 years. that's all. i'm trying to help the freakin seagrasses and the people who manage them by finding out as much as i possibly can about what factors (natural as well as anthropogenic) affect their productivity and how. doesn't that tell you that i have no intention of going in and digging up every friggin seagrass shoot i lay eyes on and killing vast areas of seagrass meadows? that wouldn't be very bright.

on my permit application, i had to list the species i'm collecting, what i'm doing with them and why, how many samples i need, etc. so, i said that i will need 1,500 shoots of Thalassia testudinum and 2,500 shoots of Halodule wrightii, to be collected over a two year period. i also said that i would be collecting these shoots by digging up small plugs of grass with a shovel. like the grass that makes up your lawn, seagrass shoots grow very close together (on the same rhizome, in fact). so, one plug dug up with a shovel will bring up anywhere between 15 and 100 shoots, depending on the species (Halodule is much smaller than Thalassia, so Hal will give me close to 100 shoots/plug, while Thal will give me 15-20 shoots/plug). anyone who has ever seen seagrass should know this. yet somehow, my application was interpreted to mean that i would be taking 1,500 plugs of Thalassia and 2,500 plugs of Halodule. yes, my friends. that would be insane and would probably go a long way toward to destroying the seagrass bed. but that is not what i'm doing. i'll actually be taking about 80 plugs of each species, spread out over a two year period (and spread out over a rather large area)... which i proceeded to explain to park service girl. so she said she will reconsider my application, but i have to re-submit the application, specifying the number of plugs of each species i will need instead of the number of individual shoots. what a pain in the ass.

oh yeah, and when i called the other chick who is applying for all these permits with me to tell her all of this, she informed me that the guy at the park we've been doing research at finally realized that we've been using an expired permit (where the hell is the freakin renewal, for crying out loud?). and i'm going back over there tuesday. which means that when i re-fax all this crap to park service girl tomorrow, i have to get her to fax me a permit by monday or i'm screwed. yay me. who wouldn't love applying for research permits?

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