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F.U.N. Camp Presents Challenges and Opportunity to Learn More about the Outdoors

Release Date: 10/17/2011

F.U.N. Camp Presents Challenges and Opportunity to Learn More about the Outdoors
F.U.N. Camp Presents Challenges and Opportunity to Learn More about the Outdoors
F.U.N. Camp Presents Challenges and Opportunity to Learn More about the Outdoors

Oct. 17, 2011-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Mother/Child FUN Camp, held October 7-9 at the Woodworth Outdoor Education facility, attracted ten families from around the state.

The FamiliesUnderstandingNature weekend offered parents and their children an opportunity to spend time together in the outdoors, re-establishing bonds and honing outdoor skills.

LDWF Education staff and volunteers worked with participants to introduce them to a variety of activities. Mothers and children spent time on the rifle range learning to safely shoot .22 rifles, with balloons and paint balls as their favorite targets. Archery, one of the most popular activities, allowed several participants the chance to demonstrate their skills.  Windy conditions made canoeing a challenge, but the families acclimated and learned to adapt to unexpected conditions in the outdoors.  Outdoor cooking, orienteering, outdoor crafts, night hiking, fishing and overnight tent camping rounded out the busy weekend.

FUN Camp is held twice each year.  The Father/Child FUN camp will be offered April 13-15, 2012 and Mother/Child FUN Camp will be offered again October 5-7, 2012. Pre-registration is required and space is limited and filled on a first come, first served basis.  Registration is $50 for each family (a parent and child).  Each additional child is $25.  The fee covers meals, lodging and supplies (including tents) used over the weekend.  Bed linens and sleeping bags are NOT provided.

To obtain a registration form on-line, visit LDWF’s website at

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/fun-camp or contact Karen Edwards at 318-766-8144 or kedwards@wlf.la.gov.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

Plaquemine Man Arrested on Felony Violations

Release Date: 10/14/2011

 

Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a Plaquemine man on alleged forgery charges on Oct. 14.

LDWF Special Investigation Unit (SIU) agents arrested John Boudreaux, 51, on felony charges of forgery, injuring public records and filing false public documents and booked him into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

Agents started the investigation in September of 2011 after receiving a tip from an alligator hunter about a man illegally acquiring alligator tags from the department.  Agents found that Boudreaux forged signatures on alligator tag applications in order to obtain the rights to hunt alligators on land that he did not have permission.

According to LDWF records, Boudreaux illegally obtained 150 tags and harvested 149 alligators in West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes since 2001.

An alligator hunter must either own land or have permission to hunt alligators on land that is classified as wetland habitat in order to qualify for alligator harvest tags. LDWF issues harvest tags for property containing sufficient alligator habitat capable of sustaining an alligator harvest.  Wild alligator tags can only be issued to licensed alligator hunters and are nontransferable.

Injuring and filing false records brings up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail with or without hard labor for each count.  Forgery carries a $5,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Ronnie Hebert, Sgt. Dusty Rhodes and Senior Agents Jerry Stassi, Louis Burnett and Ladd Turner.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Completes Growth Monitoring Plots on Loggy Bayou and Walnut Hills Wildlife Management Areas

Release Date: 10/13/2011

Oct. 13, 2011 – TheLouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Forestry Section has completed its annual Growth Monitoring Plot (GMP) surveys on Loggy Bayou and Walnut Hills Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).

Established in 1988, the GMP program allows biologists to gather a wide range of data on wildlife habitat, assess forest growth and health, and determine risks to WMA resources. After initial establishment of the GMP permanent plot, data is collected every ten years for analysis with the first year data.

The data collected for more than 20 variables provides managers the insight to understand the complexity of these forested systems, including growth rates, mortality, species change, invasive species encroachment, habitat characteristic and forest disease developments.  Additionally, a baseline of knowledge is established for evaluating future changes and monitoring sustainability of the forest in each WMA.

GMP data results for both Loggy Bayou and Walnut Hills WMAs revealed fairly healthy forests, despite the continued drought in western Louisiana. The plantation area on Loggy Bayou is growing much faster than expected, with average growth rates exceeding five inches per decade. GMP plots on Walnut Hills identified several areas experiencing closed canopy conditions. These conditions limit growth, increase mortality, and have a negative impact on available browse and mast production.  Due to these habitat conditions, LDWF is planning several thinning treatments on the area to enhance wildlife habitat conditions.

The GMP program will continue to help managers develop strategies for achieving objectives and sustaining forest health and vigor. The continued collection of GMP data will ensure that WMA forests across the state will remain productive and provide both social and economic benefits for future generations.

For more information on LDWF’s Forestry Program, contact Tommy Tuma at 225-765-2347 or ttuma@wlf.la.gov or go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/forestry-program .

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issues Over $6,500 In Rewards To Tipsters

Release Date: 10/13/2011

 

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $6,500 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on Oct. 5 in Mansura.

The group approved and dispensed cash reward amounts for tipsters who reported wildlife violations that led to 26 subjects being apprehended in wildlife cases.  There were a total of 14 cases presented and 50 offenses associated with those cases.

Louisiana Department Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement LOGT Coordinator Sgt. Will Roberts provided LOGT members with information on each case and a recommendation for reward amounts.

“We depend on Operation Game Thief and these public tips to help break a lot of cases that might have otherwise gone unsolved,” Roberts said.  “Perfect examples of the public helping us get convictions are in the recent black bear and bald eagle cases.  The public contributed information that led to guilty pleas in both instances.”

LOGT awarded the two black bear tipsters a total of $800 and the bald eagle informant the maximum reward of $1,000.  Cory Ronsonet, 39, of New Iberia pleaded guilty for illegally taking a Louisiana black bear in federal court on Aug. 17.  Jeffrey Miles, 22, of West Monroe, pleaded guilty for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in federal court on Sept. 19 for shooting a bald eagle.

Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's new tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, citizens can anonymously text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.  Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.

To make a donation to the LOGT that can be used for cash rewards, please contact Sgt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

LOGT meets quarterly throughout the year to review cases and dispense rewards.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

WEEKLY eNEWS: Upcoming Events, Awards, Volunteer Opportunity Resources, Your Feedback, and Lagniappe

A Compilation of Environmental Education News from Across Louisiana 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Earth Science Week: October 9-15, 2011
Since its inception in 1998, the American Geological Institute (AGI) has organized Earth Science Week (ESW), an international event to help the public gain a better understanding of and appreciation for the earth sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. The website features: contests, events, and a comprehensive portfolio of geoscience educational materails for K-12 students and teachers.

4-H Youth Wetlands Program – Registration Now Open!
The Youth Wetlands Education and Outreach Program is a statewide LSU AgCenter 4-H program sponsored by the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration (OCPR). The program is a school enrichment program designed to heighten students’ awareness of Louisiana’s wetlands, wetland loss, and wetland conservation. Program materials are provided at no cost to participating educators. The program is celebrated during Youth Wetlands Week (YWW), April 22-27. 2012. The curriculum is tailored to students in grades 4-12 and all lesson plans are designed to follow Louisiana’s Grade Level Expectations (GLEs). In addition to receiving materials, opportunities to participate in wetland restoration projects are available to teacher and students throughout the year in various locations across the state. Students have helped with vegetative plantings and invasive species removal, constructed and installed wood duck boxes, and assisted in trash bashes/beach sweeps. For more information, visit www.lsuagcenter.com/yww or register using the Google form attached below.

Upcoming Webinar: School Buildings as Green Teaching Tools (October 19, 7 pm)
The National Environmental Education Foundation (www.neefusa.org) in partnership with the National Education Association Foundation (www.neafoundation.org) and Green Schools National Conference (www.greenschoolsnationalconference.org) is launching the first of a series of three webinars, Green Schools Educator Webinar Series, to help educators around the country learn from experts and peers how to green their schools and curriculum. Webinar participants will interact live with national experts and teachers who are transforming their schools for the 21st Century. Registration is free and all educators are invited to join. Please see attached flyer for more information. To register, visit: www.classroomearth.org/gswebinars

AWARDS

Nominate the Next Chevrolet GREEN Educator Award Winner
Nominate an educator or partner in your community to be the next Chevrolet GREEN Educator Award winner! The Chevrolet GREEN Educator Award recognizes teachers, college professors and non-formal educators who have made a substantial effort to promote environmental engagement among youth. The GM Foundation and Earth Force will award 5 educators each month in the search to find the 20 best “GREEN” educators nationwide. Winners will also be featured on the Earth Force website, along with their teaching tools and ways they get their students involved. We are looking for those truly great at keeping students active in their community, helping young people understand the relationship between civic life and environmental health, and those that are spreading the word. To nominate your favorite “GREEN” educator, visit www.greeneducator.org.

Department of Education Announces Green Ribbon Schools Award - Environmental Education Included in Final Criteria
The criteria for the Department of Education’s new Green Ribbon Schools Award was recently announced. In accordance with comments submitted by Congressman John Sarbanes, the No Child Left Inside Coalition, and other proponents of environmental education, the final criteria encourages schools to put in place programs that, among other things, “promote environmental education that supports students’ strong civic skills, environmental stewardship and workforce preparedness.” To read the Congressman’s full press release, click here. Nominations for the Green Ribbon Schools Award will be accepted through the fall and awards will be announced on Earth Day 2012.

For more information on Environmental Literacy and Green Ribbon Schools Federal Program please see attached document.
 

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

Volunteers Needed- Beach Restoration on Elmer’s Island (October 19 & 20)
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Bayou Land RC&D Council invite volunteers to participate in a wetland restoration project that will create sand dunes along the shoreline of Elmer’s Island in Grand Isle.  Volunteers will install 2,000 feet of sand fencing on October 19th and plant dune grass on October 20th (10:00 am to no later than 4:00 pm for both days).  These projects will assist in stabilizing and capturing sand in the hopes of building dunes. In addition, the project will also create wildlife habitat and increase species diversity. This project is being completed through a partnership with the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, NOAA Community-based Restoration Program, Restore America's Estuaries, the Coypu Foundation and New Orleans City Park. All equipment (shovels, gloves, hammers, etc.) will be provided. Lunch and drinks will be provided to all volunteers. Please register (for one or both days) at the www.crcl.org or call the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana at 1-(888)-LACOAST for more information.  

RESOURCES

ScienceCasts: Online Video Series
NASA ScienceCasts are short online videos about fun, interesting, and unusual science topics encountered by NASA's science missions. The video series, created by astrophysicists and a team of agency narrators and videographers, offers the public a fast and fun way to learn about scientific discoveries and facts about Earth, the solar system, and beyond. New videos are posted online every Thursday. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sciencecasts

YOUR FEEDBACK

Gulf Coast Task Force Releases Ecosystem Restoration Strategy for Public Review
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, chaired by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, released for public review and feedback its comprehensive preliminary strategy for long term ecosystem restoration. The strategy represents an historic opportunity for addressing long-standing issues contributing to the decline of the Gulf’s critical ecosystem. The preliminary strategy is the first effort of its kind to be developed with the involvement of parties throughout the region, including the states, tribes, federal agencies, local governments and thousands of interested citizens and organizations. The strategy was developed following more than 40 public meetings throughout the Gulf to listen to the concerns of the public. It is available to the public for review and feedback at www.epa.gov/gulfcoasttaskforce, until 11:59 p.m. EST October 26, 2011. The Task Force will release the final version in December 2011.

LAGNIAPPE

Senate to Mark up Draft Education Bill—Help Secure Support for the Inclusion of Environmental Education
Senator Harkin, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has announced that the committee will mark up a draft of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) on October 18. Congressional support for the NCLI Act is critical to ensuring that the HELP Committee includes environmental literacy in the draft legislation. Please help add additional co-sponsors to Senate Bill 1372 (the NCLI Act) by contacting your Senator today. Please let your Senator know that s/he can support this goal by cosponsoring the NCLI Act today. An ESEA that includes the provisions of the NCLI Act would support outdoor learning activities both at school and in non-formal environmental education centers, teacher professional development, and the implementation of state environmental literacy plans. By offering states increased flexibility to infuse environmental education into the preK-12 curriculum, the No Child Left Inside Act will give our nation’s students the knowledge they need to advance American competitiveness in a clean energy economy, help boost academic achievement, and offer a pipeline to success in STEM subjects. For more information: www.nclicoalition.org

 

Find out about wetland outreach activities including symposiums, conferences, meetings, educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and related support material at the Louisiana Unified Coastal Community Calendar at http://lacoast.gov/calendar/

Venise Ortego, Environmental Education Coordinator, 337-948-0255, vortego@wlf.la.gov
Juliet Raffray, Environmental Education Assistant Coordinator, 225-765-0124, jraffray@wlf.la.gov
Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries – www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec

 

Two Whooping Cranes Found Dead in Jefferson Davis Parish

Release Date: 10/11/2011

LDWF Enforcement Division Identifies Two Juveniles as Suspects in Shooting

To request b-roll footage and photos of the whooping crane re-introduction, email aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Oct. 11, 2011 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents have identified two juveniles for their alleged role in the illegal shooting of two whooping cranes in Jefferson Davis Parish.

According to an eyewitness account, two juveniles stopped on Lyons Road in between Mouton and Guidry roads south of Jennings at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9.  The eyewitness said they shot from their truck and killed two whooping cranes.

LDWF agents and biologists were notified yesterday morning, Oct. 10, and retrieved the dead birds, which were a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program.  Agents were able to locate the suspected juveniles Monday night based on information from the eyewitness account.

"Losing two cranes, especially in such a thoughtless manner, is a huge setback in the department’s efforts to re-establish a whooping crane population in Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We take this careless crime very seriously.”

LDWF received 10 whooping cranes in February of this year from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Research Facility in Laurel, Md., and placed them in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This re-introduced population, which will be annually supplemented with future cohorts, marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USGS, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population and is protected under state law and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

"This is a profound setback to the many people and organizations who have worked so hard to bring this magnificent bird back to Louisiana," said Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967.  The reintroduction at White Lake WCA is part of an ongoing recovery effort coordinated by the USFWS.

Historically, both a resident and migratory population of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s.  Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north.  Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh.  The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America.  The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950.

The only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes migrates between Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.  Like those in the eastern migratory population, it remains vulnerable to extinction from continued loss of habitat or natural or man-made catastrophes.  Multiple efforts are underway to reduce this risk and bring this bird further along its path to recovery.  This includes increasing populations in the wild, ongoing efforts to establish a migratory population in the eastern United States, and establishing a resident population in Louisiana.

There are about 570 whooping cranes left in the world, only 400 in the wild. About 100 cranes are in the eastern migratory population.  For the 11th time in as many years, ultralight-led captive reared whooping cranes are learning their migration route to wintering sites in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.  Ten young whooping cranes began their journey on Oct. 9, 2011.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465, or Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115.

CORRECTION: Oyster Season on Public Seed Ground will be delayed for up to Two Weeks to Allow for Ongoing NRDA Sampling

Release Date: 10/07/2011

October 6, 2011 – The opening of the 2011-2012 Oyster Season on certain public seed grounds will be delayed for up to two weeks to allow for continued sampling as part of the BP Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission today gave authority to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham to postpone the season opening on public seed grounds for up to two weeks, from October 17 to October 31, 2011. At the latest, the season would open at one half-hour before sunrise on October 31, 2011.

Officials with LDWF are working with NRDA teams to ensure that sampling efforts are completed as quickly as possible. If sampling is completed before the end of the two-week delay period, the Commission has given Secretary Barham authority to open the season following a 72-hour public notice.

Sampling efforts of oysters on public seed grounds are ongoing as part of the NRDA process to assess injuries caused by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The NRDA sampling currently taking place is intended to collect a number of data sets, including oyster density, size frequency,biomass and sediment samples,in an effort to assess injuries to oysters as a result of the spill.

The 2011-2012 Oyster Season on public seed grounds was set to open October 17, 2011, with the exception of Calcasieu and Sabine lakes. No other changes have been made to the season opening dates established by the Commission at its September meeting.

The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (Department of Health and Hospitals’ harvest area 30) is scheduled to open at one-half hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person per vessel per day.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or at 225-610-8660.

Louisiana Launches GulfSource.org, Single Source Website for Seafood, Water and Sediment Safety Test Results

Release Date: 10/07/2011

LDWF, LDHH, LDEQ and LDAF launch website with all tests results as part of the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan

October 7, 2011 – Louisiana officials announced today the launch of GulfSource.org, a site that makes public all of the seafood, water and sediment safety testing information conducted since the 2010 BP Oil Spill under the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan. The site, which allows users to scroll through all available samples or conduct specific searches by area, date or sample type, utilizes information from the Louisiana departments of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Health and Hospitals (LDHH), Environmental Quality (LDEQ), and Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).

“Though we’ve been testing seafood, water and sediment since April 30, 2010 in response to the BP oil spill, the information has been difficult to widely distribute to the public until the launch of GulfSource.org,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We hope the public will utilize GulfSource.org to find out what the safety test results in seafood from areas they fish or from waters they consume reveal. What is truly encouraging is that, to date, not a single sample has failed our safety tests. We now we have the tool to share those results with the general public. Rebuilding our seafood brand starts with rebuilding consumer confidence in our product. We hope GulfSource.org helps us accomplish that task.”

“The public should have easy access to food safety information and GulfSource.org is a great companion to the work we’re already doing with EatSafe.La.Gov,” DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said. “Transparency of critical health and safety information is a top priority at DHH, where we worked with our state agency partners to publish seafood testing results almost immediately after the BP disaster and throughout the following year. GulfSource takes that work to the next level and allows the world to see for itself that we have the most-tested seafood out there.”

 “Now it will be easier for people outside of Louisiana to know what we already know – the seafood is safe and as good as ever,” said DEQ Peggy Hatch. “The goal of the plan was to ensure seafood safety for all the people who enjoy the best seafood in the world. With the launch of this new website, anyone will be able to see the results. This is the culmination of a statewide effort from many agencies to develop and execute a sampling plan like none other.”

"Our office has a long history of ensuring the quality and safety of Louisiana food,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.  “It’s our duty to continue this obligation to our Louisiana seafood industry and the consumers and patrons that enjoy shrimp, crab and finfish."

Louisiana officials reached an agreement with BP to test seafood, sediment and water from across the Louisiana coast for traces of toxins called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and for dispersants called Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS).  The agreement funds the testing program, called the Louisiana Seafood Safety Plan, up to $18 million for a total of three years ($6 million per year).

To date, none of the samples tested have showed levels of PAHs or dispersants near the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-established “level of concern.” In fact, of the samples that showed any minute traces of PAHs, none were above background levels (the levels found in seafood before the oil spill). Test results for dispersants are also available on GulfSource.org.

GulfSource.org allows the general public full access to information on how testing is conducted, specifically where it is conducted, and when and what the results from the lab analyses show. 

For more information, visit GulfSource.org.                                        

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-8660.

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