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Natural Resources Northern and Yorke

7 April 2015


In this issue

Our Regional Manager welcomes new CE to Northern & Yorke
Climate outlook for autumn
Innes herbarium donation a labour of love for Trudie
Students with hoodies - no it's not what you think!
Working with future environmental leaders a dream come true
(S)oils ain't (S)oils until you've looked at them from the pit
Deep Creek Conservation Park - Park of the Month
Shack owners making a difference at Innes
Prescribed burns for Northern & Yorke
Circle for a life well lived and warmly remembered
Hopes fly high for boxthorn control on Yorke Peninsula
Road closures Innes National Park
Conservation through storytelling
Vegetation monitoring workshops coming up in May
Pasture & Production Zoning workshops
Mid North High Rainfall Zone group
Showcasing Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and NRM
Upcoming Farmer Group Events - National Disaster Resilience Program
Upcoming Farmer Group Events - Spray Application Technology and Loss Management workshop
Upcoming Farmer Group Events - Sustainable Farming Families workshop
Welcome to the April issue of Yakka E-Newsletter

Yakka brings you news and stories from across the Northern & Yorke region.

Please share this newsletter with family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and your networks.

Our Regional Manager welcomes new CE to Northern & Yorke

Recently I left my desk, put on my tour guide's hat and spent three days with DEWNR's new Chief Executive, Sandy Pitcher, who was in the region for the State Government's Country Cabinet.

It was a hectic three days but a brilliant opportunity to welcome Sandy to our region, share some of our special places with her and provide her with opportunities to see first-hand contemporary agricultural practices that are ensuring our region remains prosperous and vibrant.

Northern & Yorke (N&Y) and South Australia Murray Darling Basin (SAMDB) regions share a partnership that supports management of natural resources in the Lower North and Eastern Districts. It was that shared territory that was the focus of our field trip.

With Presiding Members Eric Sommerville (N&Y) and Sharon Starick (SAMDB), we visited a number of properties on Tuesday 31 March. Stops included Redbanks Conservation Park, World's End Creek campground, which is managed by the Regional Council of Goyder, and the Hallelujah Hills. Comprised mostly of landholders from the Mid North, the World's End Conservation group have acquired land in the Hallelujah Hills and are partnering with SAMDB and N&Y through the Burra to Kapunda SEB project.

Our field trip culminated at one of the district's hidden gems, the Tothill Ranges. Here we met with John Smyth, the founder of Bushland Conservation P/L, on one of the group's properties. Bushland Conservation P/L is an inspirational example of what can be achieved through vision, innovation and collaboration. 

We returned to the Burra Railway Station to see Premier Jay Weatherill officially re-open the beautifully restored building before a large crowd of Mid North locals.

Our final stop was Martindale Hall where Sandy met with Rodney Harrex, the CE of the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC). The two CE's were shown through the Hall by caretaker Mick Morris, who has a wealth of knowledge about the property and its history. Mr Harrex had never visited the property and believes the site has enormous potential.

NRNY staff welcomed the opportunity to meet Sandy over a shared lunch in the Bimbowrie room of the Natural Resources Centre in Clare on Monday.  

Trevor Naismith, Regional Manager, Northern & Yorke

Photo provided by Millie Nicholls

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Climate outlook for autumn

No matter whether you are planning to do some reveg work, get a winter veggie garden planted or sow a cereal crop, you will be watching the weather.

The latest summary for autumn, issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, is predicting warmer and wetter conditions for the autumn months.

Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) surrounding Australia continue to be warmer than normal. These warmer-than-normal SSTs extend into the eastern half of the Indian Ocean. This is likely to be influencing minimum temperature and rainfall outlooks.

Below is a summary of what we can expect in our part of the state.

  • April to June is likely to be wetter than normal over most of the Australian mainland, outside of the tropics.
  • For April to June, warmer than normal days are likely over parts of southeastern Australia, and the far southwest of WA.
  • Night-time temperatures for the season are highly likely to be warmer than normal over most of Australia. With the rainfall outlook suggesting wetter weather, this means more cloud is likely to be present, which aids in trapping heat at night.

For more detailed information click this link to go to the BOM website. 

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Innes herbarium donation a labour of love for Trudie

The donation of a herbarium of Innes National Park’s plants and weeds is the culmination of 10 years, 65 separate visits, and a labour of love for Adelaide woman Trudie Jaques.

Trudie handed over her collection of almost 1000 plant samples, painstakingly mounted by herself, along with photographs and notes, to establish Innes National Park’s first herbarium.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Innes National Park ranger in charge, Mark Davison says Trudie’s contribution to the park has provided invaluable information.

“It’s an outstanding contribution to the recording of all plants within Innes and each folder is in alphabetical order and contains dried and pressed specimens, full and half page colour photographs, as well as a full botanical description and location information,” he says.

The herbarium is now located at Innes National Park and is available for all staff to use as a comprehensive identification guide and information reference.

Trudie really wants people to use the collection. "It's been a lot of hard work but I love the feeling of being appreciated for this work and my family are very proud of me which is just wonderful.”

Trudie says her next challenge will be to make the collection available online.

To read the full article, click this link.

Photo provided by Trudie Jaques.

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Students with hoodies - no it's not what you think!

A group of 24 students from Prince Alfred College in Adelaide participated in a Hooded Plover survey and marine debris collection on Yorke Peninsula earlier this month in a partnership that is benefitting both the environment and education.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke community team leader for Yorke district Deborah Furbank says the college has been involved in Hooded Plover surveying since 2007, with the program ramped up last year and a marine debris collection initiative also introduced.

“It’s a really good opportunity to introduce the students to the fact that the beach is not just for recreation, but it’s a habitat as well,” she says.

“It’s a great introduction to the species, with many of the boys saying they weren’t even aware that Hooded Plovers existed before being part of this program."

“Researching the Hooded Plover gives Prince Alfred College students an opportunity to understand the scientific process of monitoring but also creates awareness of how human behaviour can impact on a threatened species.”

To read the full article click this link.

Photo provided by Dale Hobbs

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Working with future environmental leaders a dream come true

Eight Mid North schools will participate in Natural Resources Northern and Yorke’s (NRNY) Young Environmental Leaders program this year. This is exciting news for local woman Bonnie Maynard, who will deliver the program.

“For me this is a dream come true, to be able to return to my home town and work with young people in our schools,” the Lower & Mid North District Community Ranger said.

Ms Maynard attended Watervale Primary School and Clare High School before going to Adelaide University where she completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours at Roseworthy Agricultural College.

Four students from each participating school have been selected for the district’s Young Environmental Leaders (YEL) program. Each school will receive a $500 grant to plan and deliver their project.

Ms Maynard said there are many benefits for students being involved in the YEL program.

“They learn presentation, communication and leadership skills, how to mentor other students, problem-solving and decision-making, as well as the opportunity to make new friends.”

NRNY’s Young Environmental Leaders program is also being delivered by community rangers in Yorke and Upper North-Southern Flinders districts.

To read the full article, click this link

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(S)oils ain't (S)oils until you've looked at them from the pit

Young farmers were the target audience for a recent series of soil worshops delivered for Natural Resources Northern & Yorke (NRNY) by Rural Solutions SA.

The purpose of the workshops was to increase farmers knowledge about the qualities of their soils and to enable them to manage the resource more productively and sustainably.

Twelve soil pits were dug on properties in the Long Plains-Avon, Wards Hill-Wokurna-Mundoora, Halbury and Georgetown-Caltowie districts.The pits served as temporary laboratories where soil profiles were examined, analysed and described. Workshops were conducted on site to discuss soil characteristics and management.

A workshop booklet with detailed soil descriptions, laboratory analysis results and discussion of features of the soil profile at each pit site was prepared. The booklet also contained information about soil characteristics and their evaluation.

What participants said they learned:

  • how to deal with subsoil water accumulation
  • how to work within the soil's capabilities
  • how different soil types react with different nutrients
  • plant root depth and accessibility to moisture
  • different types of soil in one spot of ground
  • soak management - utilising summer rainfall
  • and much more!

It is anticipated that as a result of the workshops, farmers will be more conscious of soil variability and manage appropriately.

Photo provided by Andrew Harding.

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Deep Creek Conservation Park - Park of the Month

Deep Creek Conservation Park is the perfect place for families to camp, explore, bushwalk, stargaze, fish and connect with nature this April.  

The largest stand of remnant bush on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Deep Creek is home to a range of flora and fauna including birds, echidnas and kangaroos.

For a memorable nature-based holiday, families can:

  • Explore valleys of dense bushland and take in the spectacular, rugged coastline with some of the best coastal views in Australia.
  • Hike a range of walking trails with something for all ages and abilities – including sections of the world famous Heysen Trail.
  • Watch for kangaroos, echidnas and some of the 100 bird species that can easily be heard or spotted in the park.
  • Camp under the stars in a spectacular bushland setting.

Deep Creek offers a range of easily accessible campgrounds and is the only conservation park within 100km of Adelaide that offers bush camping, making it an ideal environment for a family adventure.

Bookings are not required for campgrounds at Deep Creek Conservation Park and sites are available on a first in basis. During public holidays they can quickly reach capacity.

For more information about Nature Play activities at Deep Creek Conservation Park, click this link.

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Shack owners making a difference at Innes

Volunteers from the Innes Shack Owners Association replaced their fishing lines for secaturs and wheelbarrows on the March long weekend.

Their project was to resurface the walking trail from Pondalowie Bay Road day visitor carpark to Peter Island Corner and to cut back vegetation overgrowing the track.

Innes National Park ranger in charge Mark Davison said where the trail met the beach area the original capping no longer existed leaving significant trip hazards.

"The existing track had been poorly maintained with much of the original trail capping eroded away leaving a rocky, uneven surface."

The volunteers resurfaced the trail with approximately 6 tonnes of gypsum. The end result was a well-cleared and newly surfaced walking trail with all safety issues resolved.

"I thought the job would take five hours but the 15 volunteers had the work done in just over two hours."

Spokesperson for the Innes Shack Owners Association, Brenton Chivell said that the group hoped to conduct more working bees in the future to assist with Innes National Park projects and infrastructure maintenance.

Photo provided by Innes Shack Owners Association.

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Prescribed burns for Northern & Yorke

Prescribed burning is undertaken for asset protection and ecological purposes during the spring and autumn months in several regions of South Australia.  

In N&Y Region, four burns are planned for autumn.

  • Spring Gully Conservation Park (1Ha)
  • Inneston - Innes National Park (15Ha)
  • Ringroute - Mount Remarkable National Park (20Ha)
  • SW Mount - Mount Remarkable NP (160Ha)

The timing of prescribed burns will be determined by weather conditions. 

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Circle for a life well lived and warmly remembered

Richard ‘Thommo’ Thomas  29/5/1950 – 27/12/2014

The southern Yorke Peninsula community recently celebrated the life of Richard "Thommo' Thomas in a moving ceremony at Pondalowie Bay. 

Richard Thomas was stationed at Innes National Park for over 20 years from the late 1980s. He had many roles including information officer, construction maintenance worker and ranger. 

His programs were quite famous and included film nights at the Pondalowie fishing village, Thommo’s  Fishing Tours and Ghost Tours of old Inneston.  These and his yoga exploits are stuff of legend amongst the local southern Yorke Peninsula community. 

Thommo was also a respected elder of the local surfing community. The break at Pondalowie Bay known as ‘Richards’ was named by Thommo himself after being one of the first to surf it many years ago.

Sadly, after a short illness, Thommo passed away on 27 December 2014 in Hobart, Tasmania, surrounded by his family. His passing came as shock to the local Marion Bay and southern Yorke Peninsula communities. As was Thommo’s way, he kept his illness private.

Thommo’s family thought it would be fitting if his ashes were scattered in the location that he called home and recently the local community came together to give Thommo the send-off he deserved.

People came from far and wide to attend the ceremony - former work mates, locals, friends from interstate and overseas - such was the respect for Thommo.

On Saturday 21 March 2015, around 200 family, friends and locals attended a ceremony on the Pondalowie Bay boardwalk. After a 400 metre walk along Pondalowie Bay to the ‘Richards’ surf break around 80 surfers of all ages paddled out beyond the break, formed a circle, joined hands and paid their respects as Thommo’s ashes were scattered and a wreath laid in the water by family and friends. 

The day was perfect. Clear blue skies, light offshore winds, dolphins and a pumping swell greeted all.  

It was a fitting farewell for Thommo and a special moment that will not be forgotten by all who attended.

Later that afternoon and into the evening Thommo’s life was remembered at a gathering in the Marion Bay Community Hall where many stories of his exploits were shared by family and friends.

Thommo’s spirit will forever ride the swells that break at ‘Richards’ and he will always be linked to the southern Yorke Peninsula and Innes National Park.

Tribute written by Mark Davison, ranger in charge Innes National Park.

Local photographer Lochie Cameron took some stunning images of the day, one of which he has shared with Yakka.

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Hopes fly high for boxthorn control on Yorke Peninsula

A new control technique for tackling African Boxthorn is being trialled on Southern Yorke Peninsula and Wardang Island.

Encouraged by the success of a similar trial on Eyre Peninsula, Natural Resources Northern and Yorke teams are using a helicopter to apply a granular herbicide to priority boxthorn areas.

“Aerial application enables us to treat large numbers of boxthorn plants over a broader area, at lower cost per plant, faster and with a higher success rate, than traditional control methods,” Sustainable Landscapes Ranger Jasmine Swales said.

“It also means we can get to relatively inaccessible areas such as coastal dunes and islands that are often overlooked.”

“In a first for Southern Yorke, we are targeting priority areas across multiple property boundaries, making long-term boxthorn control on those and surrounding properties more feasible,” Ms Swales said.

For more information contact Jasmine Swales on 0429 150 986 or ring the Natural Resources Centre Clare on 08 8841 3400.

To read the full story, click this link.

Photo provided by DEWNR Eyre Peninsula.

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Road closures Innes National Park

Brown’s Beach Road in Innes National Park will be temporarily closed from 27 April 2015 until the end of June 2015, whilst   essential road maintenance work is undertaken.

The section of road to be closed will be the main park road, Brown’s Beach Road, past Pondalowie Surf Break car park.

During the closure, access to Brown’s Beach, Brown’s Beach Campground, Shell Beach, Shell Beach Campground, Shepherd’s Hut, Dolphin Bay and Royston Head will be closed to visitors.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Innes National Park ranger in charge Mark Davison says the essential maintenance work will see a number of upgrades completed in the zone.

“Works will include a re-build and completion of the final stretch of Brown’s Beach Road from the end of the bitumen at Pondalowie Surf Break car park to the Shell Beach roundabout,” he says.

“The Dolphin Bay Road and car parking area will also be upgraded, with the car park increased from six to twenty parks, and a new beach access path will be built."

“These works mean that campgrounds within the work area will be unavailable for the duration of the upgrade and signage has already been installed to advise visitors of the closures.”

For more information, contact the ranger in charge on 08 8854 3205 or the Natural Resource Centre Clare 08 8841 3400.

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Conservation through storytelling

A new children's book featuring two Pygmy Bluetongue lizards has been launched by the Pygmy Bluetongue Conservation Association.

A not-for-profit organisation, PBTCA is dedicated to the conservation of the Pygmy Bluetongue lizard, an endangered species that was rediscovered near Burra in 1992.

A dedicated and passionate team oversee the organisation, raise awareness of the Pygmy Bluetongue and host activities and events that enable people to see the Pgymy Bluetongue and learn about its habitat and conservation needs.

Volunteers are invited to participate in activities and events.

The PBTCA Committee meets in Burra four times a year.

Profits from the sale of Pinky and Peet, the little Aussie bush lizards will support the important work of the PBTCA.

          Pinky and Peet, the little Aussie bush lizards

          Written by Dawn Hawthorn-Jackson

          Illustrated by Jan Finlayson

          Published by Emu Consulting

To order copies contact Dawn Hawthorn-Jackson on 0481 098 145 or email: dawn@emuconsulting.com.au

For more information about PBTCA click this link.

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Vegetation monitoring workshops coming up in May

Free for Volunteers & Landholders in the N&Y Region.

Would you like to learn monitoring techniques for a revegetation or restoration project you or your group are starting or working on?

Vegetation monitoring allows land/project managers to measure progress in conserving native vegetation and evaluate their efforts. It can be used for both remnant vegetation management and revegetation projects.

Anne Brown from Greening Australia will deliver workshops in each of N&Y's three districts. Participants will learn techniques used in Rapid Assessment & Bushland Condition Monitoring.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Photo-point methodology
  • Determining vegetation cover & structure
  • Growth & success monitoring
  • Recruitment
  • Restoration success

Workshops will be held on:

  • Tuesday 19 May – Mulbura Park, Mulburra Park Road, approx. 6 km NNW of Port Vincent
  • Wednesday 20 May – Neagles Rock Reserve, Clare
  • Thursday 21 May – King Tree Paddock, Wirrabara Forest

Each workshop will be 5 hours, including breaks, with a maximum of 10 participants. Participants will be sent more information & pre-reading prior to workshop.

To register your interest contact the Natural Resources Centre on 8841 3400. We will need your name, email or postal address and preferred workshop location.

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Pasture & Production Zoning workshops

With the increasing costs of cropping and highly variable rainfall in parts of the Uppert North it is increasingly important that land use is appropriately matched to land type and condition.

Upper North Farming Systems is holding three on-farm workshops to demonstrate the tools that are available to assist producers to analyse their production zones. This includes the use of satellite imagery and yield data.

The half day workshops will show producers how these tools can be used to develop and implement appropriate pasture and grazing management systems.

By attending this workshop you will:

  • Be introduced to satellite imagery and how it can be used for pasture/production zoning.
  • Analyse the production zone maps of nearby paddocks.
  • Discuss implications associated with the production zones and enterprise choice.
  • Assess the impact production zoning can have on your bottom line.

Each three hour workshop will include a couple of hours for group discussion with the speakers and then a visit to the property demonstration site.

These workshops are part of the Pasture and Production Zoning Project funded by the Northern and Yorke NRM Board and the Australian Government. 


Michael Wells - Precision Cropping Technologies

John Squires and Claire Gutsche - Rural Directions Pty Ltd


 8 April 2015       9.30 - 12.30pm                                                   Trevor & Dianne Gum's farm, Orroroo

8 April 2015       2pm - 5pm                                                                      Joe Koch's farm, Booleroo Centre

9 April 2015       9am - 12pm                                                                   Robert & Michelle Dennis' farm, Port Germein

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Claire at Rural Directions Pty Ltd by email: cgutsche@ruraldirections.com or by phone on 8841 4500.

For more information about UNFS contact Ruth Sommerville by email: rufousandco@yahoo.com.au or phone on 0401 042 223.

Visit UNFS on the web by clicking this link.

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Mid North High Rainfall Zone group

2015 Diary Dates:

Winter Crop Walk – Friday 24th July at 2.00pm

Annual Field Day – Tuesday 29th September at 1.00pm

Trials sown for the 2015 Season

Some of the Trials expected this season are:

  • A SAGIT funded Long Season Wheat Trial
  • Canopy Management in Wheat

Other Trials will be added as they come to hand.

Enquiries to:

Secretary: Phil Holmes

           Mobile: 0428 587 862

           Email: pholmes@ruralco.com.au

For more information about the Mid North High Rainfall Zone Group click this link.

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Showcasing Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and NRM

You are invited to join the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Sustainable Soils Team and SA No-Till Farmers Association to find out how the latest innovations in agricultural technology can also help deliver natural resource management.

Greg Butler and Leighton Pearce from SA No-Till Farmers Association are leaders in understanding the latest innovations in agricultural technology.

They will present cutting edge information, demonstrating how these new technologies can benefit both farmers and natural resource management (NRM), and support your conservation messages.

As well as DEWNR and other agency staff, local government and agribusiness, such as resellers, bankers and consultants, are also invited to learn more about new technologies used in the agriculture industry.

Smartphone Apps for Smart Farmers

The recently updated Smartphone Apps for Smart Farmers book will be presented at the seminar. Sponsored by SAMDB NRM and DEWNR, the book provides a guide to the range of apps now available to land managers for agriculture and natural resource management.

Date: Monday 11 May 2015

Venue: Clare Bowling Club, 2 Pioneer Avenue, Clare

Time: 9.00am to 12 noon

The event is free but booking is essential

RSVP by 4 May

For more information and to book a place contact Susan Sweeney  8303 9343 or Email: susan.sweeney@sa.gov.au

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Upcoming Farmer Group Events - National Disaster Resilience Program

National Disaster Resilience Program                                       Delivered by Primary Producers SA & Livestock SA                              Date: Wednesday 8 April 2015       7.30pm – 10pm                         North Laura Hotel Dining Room

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Upcoming Farmer Group Events - Spray Application Technology and Loss Management workshop

Spray Application Technology and Loss Management Workshop  
Venue: Elders Jamestown - 10 McLeod Road, Jamestown                   Date: 15 April 2015      1pm - 4.30pm

A half day application technology and drift management workshop, developed by Bill Gordon Consulting will be delivered by Dave Georg.

Topics covered:

  • Legal's - where are we at with labels and buffers
  • Weather - impact of inversions on drift potential
  • Trial results - recent results on speed and wheel tracks
  • Nozzle types - how they work and selecting for different situations.

Contact Name: Alf Weaver - 0408 954 133
Email Address: alfred.weaver@elders.com.au
Contact Website: https://www.ispray.com.au
Cost: $30.00

For more information, click this link. 

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Upcoming Farmer Group Events - Sustainable Farming Families workshop

Yorke Peninsula Alkaline Soils Group - Sustainable Farming Families Workshop                                                                        Date: 22 & 23 June 2015

Developed by the National Centre for Farmer Health, this workshop has been delivered nationally with South Australia the last state to roll it out. YPASG is one of only three groups in SA to host this important workshop.

The workshop will deliver farmer focussed health information, and provide health checks including glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI checks. Initial health checks will be performed by health professionals in a confidential setting and follow up will be arranged if considered necessary.

For more information contact:                                                        Kristin McEvoy - Project and Funding Co-ordinator, YPASG Inc.
0400 283 015 or email: projects@alkalinesoils.com.au

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What's on in Northern & Yorke?

Keep up to date about upcoming events, workshops, field days, and volunteer opportunities by visiting Get Involved on the Northern & Yorke website.

Contact us to submit your upcoming community, farmer group and other natural resource management events.

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Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Government of South Australia
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