Registration Now Open for 2018 Michigan Natural Shoreline Professional Training and Certification Program Training

November 3, 2017 12:07

MNSP+logo[1]The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership is pleased to offer the

2018 Michigan Certified Natural Shoreline Professional (MCNSP) Training and Certification Program Training

Two days of classroom instruction and a one-day field exercise designed to equip professional landscape and marine contractors to design, implement and maintain natural shoreline landscapes on inland lakes.

► Classroom instruction includes topics on:

Michigan lakes and problems with shoreline development
Characteristics and benefits of natural shorelines
Shoreline ecosystems, soils and native plants
Methods, techniques and design of bio-engineered shoreline erosion control
Designing, monitoring and maintaining a natural shoreline landscape
Natural shoreline case studies
Water law and shoreline development permits

► One-day field exercise installing a natural shoreline landscape on an inland lake property (scheduled at a later date).

Certification: Completion of all two days of in-class instruction and one day of field exercise and successfully passing the certification exam is required. Certification is valid for three years. Re-certification requires the payment of a fee.

Benefits of becoming an MCNSP

  • Michigan Certified Natural Shoreline Professional identifies you as having successfully completed this training in the use of “green” landscaping technologies and bio-engineered erosion control for the protection of Michigan inland lakes. MCNSP is approved by the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership and recognized by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
  • Your name and contact information will be posted on the MDEQ and Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership websites as having completed the Certified Natural Shoreline Professional training.
  • Participants in the class will also receive in-depth training on State of Michigan’s permit requirements and process for soft shoreline construction.

Training Course Dates/Locations:
CLASSROOM: East Lansing, MI – Mar. 6 & 7, 2018
EXAM/FIELD: Paw Paw, MI – June 13, 2018

To participate in the 2018 MCNSP training event, download an application by clicking here , or you may register on-line by clicking here

MI House of Representatives Considers Weaker Ballast Water Standards: A Boon to Aquatic Invasive Species

November 2, 2017 13:58

by Mitch Barrows
Freshwater Future

Lawmakers in the Michigan House are set to consider a bill that would weaken Michigan’s ballast water pollution standards. House Bill 5095 would effectively repeal the standards passed in 2005 with near unanimous bipartisan support, and leave us to rely exclusively on weaker federal standards for ballast water pollution. Freshwater Future responded with the following statement:

“Aquatic invasive species wreak havoc on Great Lakes waters, costing local and regional economies billions each year. The release of ballast water from Great Lakes ships has been undeniably a mode of entry for the most destructive aquatic invasive species-including zebra and quagga mussels, sea lamprey, and a variety of plant species. By lowering safeguards to weaker federal standards, Michigan lawmakers threaten the economic and ecological health and stability of the entire Great Lakes region.”

The direct threats of invasive species include preying on native species, out-competing native species for food or other resources, causing or carrying disease, and preventing native species from reproducing or killing a native species’ young.

As Great Lakes residents, many of our commercial, agricultural, and recreational activities depend on healthy native ecosystems. Invasive species are virtually impossible to eradicate once established in our waterways, and mitigation efforts are costly and many times non-existent. Thus their effects are irreversible.
The bill was approved by the committee on a vote of 9 yes, 3 no, 2 pass, 1 absent.

Read the official legislative analysis by clicking  here   for more detailed information on what changes the bill proposes.

The Killer Bees Appear to be Winning – An Update on Wake Boats

October 9, 2017 12:51

By Clifford H. Bloom, Esq.
Bloom Sluggett, PC
Grand Rapids, Michigan

The watercraft commonly known as wakeboard boats, bladder boats, ballast boats or wave boats (hereinafter, “wake boats”) are increasingly becoming a big problem on inland lakes throughout Michigan. Wake boats are not simply a different type of boat, and the problems they create are not just a matter of degree. The problems caused by wake boats are geometrically worse than conventional speed boats. This article will update my earlier Attorney Writes column on wake boats from the Fall 2013 issue of the Riparian Magazine called “Of Mosquitoes and Killer Bees.”

As wake boarding has steadily increased in popularity over the past decade, statewide sales of recreational boats designed to create large, high energy wakes have also increased dramatically. Intense competition among wake boat manufacturers has led to the development of new technologies to improve the ability of their boats to create increasingly high energy wakes. Variable, high volume ballast systems, as well as specially designed hulls, propellers and powertrains, have all led to significant improvement in the performance of wake boats in recent years. The potential for collateral damage to docks, hoists, moored boats and other shoreline equipment as well as the potential for shoreline erosion increases with wake boat displacement, engine and hull size, and speed. Ballast-laden wake boats operating at even moderate speeds are capable of producing surface and near-surface wake related energy levels that substantially exceeds the energy created by even the largest of waves induced by intense summer thunderstorms and/or high winds on inland lakes.

Why are wake boats such a problem on Michigan inland lakes? There are generally at least three problems associated with such watercraft. First, they are having significant negative environmental impacts on lakes. Why? Wake boats are designed not only to throw a larger wake or wave than conventional boats, but their propulsion system and deep wakes disturb the bottom lands of the lake involved to a much greater depth and degree than other boats. Given such boats’ hyper-wave effect, they tend to keep lake waters churned up (and murky) as well as continually disturbing the bottom lands of the shallower lakes, which imperils natural aquatic plants, insects, fish and microscopic life. Many of the adverse environmental impacts remain unknown and untested at this time.

Second, wake boats are destroying natural shorelines, seawalls and other shoreline protective structures throughout the state. Waves created by wake boats are not only larger and more intense than waves created by conventional boats, they also slam into shorelines and seawalls with much greater force and velocity. Many riparian landowners have reported that seawalls and shorelines which have for years been able to withstand conventional boating activity are being destroyed or disrupted in relatively short periods of time by the large waves from wake boats. In many instances, the operators of wake boats are destroying the private property of others.
Finally, wake boats present significant safely hazards to other boaters, swimmers and even people resting or sitting on or in moored boats, swim rafts and docks. It is not uncommon for the wave from a wake boat to cause a person to fall down on or fall off of a dock or moored boat, or even break boat mooring lines.

Unfortunately, on a relatively small lake, just a few wake boats operated irresponsibly (and even sometimes, operated in a normal fashion) can destroy many of the attributes that makes lake living attractive.

What can be done to resolve the problems associated with wake boats? Sadly, in Michigan, the options appear to be limited. Some of the possible solutions are as follows:

A. More vigorous enforcement of existing Michigan boating laws.
Existing Michigan laws already make it illegal to operate a boat at a wake producing speed within a certain distance of the shore, a dock, a swim raft, a swimmer, a fisherman or sailboats. Furthermore, the improper use of a wake boat could constitute careless or even reckless boating in a given situation. More vigorous enforcement of these laws as to wake boats could make a difference.

B. Special watercraft rules.
Pursuant to MCL 324.80108 et seq., the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (the “DNR”), in conjunction with a local municipality, can adopt one or more special watercraft rules for a given inland lake. The special watercraft rules include no wake areas, no wake lakes, a limitation on hours for high speed boating and water skiing and similar restrictions. Unfortunately, however, the statute does not allow the adoption of a special watercraft rule to ban or regulate certain types of boats, such as wake boats. Furthermore, the DNR generally will not agree to adopt a special watercraft rule unless there is a demonstrated safety problem with the lake involved.

C. The possibility of a municipality adopting its own local ordinance regarding wake boats.
Theoretically, a Michigan township, city or village could adopt a local ordinance (without DNR involvement) to regulate or potentially even ban wake boats on some or all lakes within the municipality. Miller v Fabius Township Board, 366 Mich 250 (1962). However, it is also possible that any such regulations are preempted by either state or federal law. Preemption occurs where either the federal or state government has taken away (or severely curtailed) the ability of a local government to regulate a particular area. Michigan courts have not yet ruled regarding whether the special watercraft rule procedure found in MCL 324.80108 et seq. preempts the ability of local municipalities to regulate on-water activities on their own.

D. State legislation.
The Michigan legislature has full power to regulate or even ban wake boats on Michigan inland lakes. However, due to the lobbying power of the boating industry, such regulations are not likely to be enacted. Nevertheless, it should also be pointed out that even if the sale and use of wake boats were prohibited or significantly regulated, it likely would not adversely affect commerce or the boating industry for the simple fact that almost all of the people who would purchase wake boats would buy other conventional boats as an alternative. One common sense legislative proposal would be for the Michigan Legislature to adopt a law or statute that prohibits wake boats from being used on inland lakes under a certain size (for example, 2,000 acres) and to forbid wake boats from being used (or at least their bladders or mega-wave capabilities from being used) within so many feet of the shoreline (for example, 1,000 feet). Such regulations could help minimize the adverse safety, environmental and property damage effects of wake boats.

E. Private civil damages lawsuits.
If a wake boat damages a riparian’s dock, swim raft, seawall or other property, that riparian might have the ability to pursue a damages lawsuit against the operator of the wake boat involved. However, such lawsuits would likely be not only expensive, but could potentially be difficult to win. Damage to seawalls and other property is often cumulative and may not be caused simply by one wake boat.

F. A riparian rights lawsuit.
In Michigan, a lakefront or riparian property owner can only use his or her lake frontage and the surface of the water of the lake in a reasonable fashion. See Thompson v Enz, 379 Mich 667; 154 NW2d 473 (1967); Three Lakes Assn v Kessler, 91 Mich App 371; 285 NW2d 300 (1979); Pierce v Riley, 81 Mich App 39; 264 NW2d 110 (1978); West Michigan & Market Corp v Lakeland Investments, 210 Mich App 505; 534 NW2d 212 (1995), and Square Lake Hills Condo Assn v Bloomfield Twp, 437 Mich 310; 471 NW2d 321 (1991). On a given lake (particularly a smaller inland lake), one or more riparian property owners could theoretically pursue a lawsuit against the operator of a wake boat for unreasonably interfering with the riparian rights of others. To the extent that the wake boat damages a riparian’s lake bottom lands, seawall or other property, or effectively “crowds out” other riparians from using the lake, that could potentially be actionable via a civil lawsuit. The idea is somewhat novel, but could potentially evolve into court sanctioned litigation.

Many of the problems created by wake boats are a result of operators not being thoughtful of their neighbors and fellow riparians. Following the Golden Rule would likely cut down significantly on the problems caused by wake boats.

Should you feel strongly regarding this matter, please contact your local Michigan senator or representative. You can also contact the Michigan Waterfront Alliance at (989) 821-6661 or at www.mwai.org.

Join the Adventures in Collective Water Management Network on Friday, November 17th

October 9, 2017 08:06

Join the Adventures in Collective Water Management Network on Friday, November 17
for an informative discussion about managing waste water and sewage in your community/watershed


This webinar is the 4th in a series of free, on-going support for riparians and local Government Officials following the ML&SA Annual Conference in April 2017.

On Friday, November 17, 2017, at 1:30 PM, The Adventures in Collective Water Management Network will be offering a forum to learn about local efforts for managing wastewater and sewage in your community/watershed. The emphasis will be on septic and sewer systems. This unique webinar format (you can log-in from anywhere via the internet) invites participants to contribute to the conversation. If you are inspired to help prevent future damage from wastewater and sewage in your local community, you will not want to miss this free online meeting. Space for the webinar is limited. Advance registration is required and can be found at https://glccn.org/groups/adventures-in-collective-water-management/ . After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Registrations for the event will be accepted until  11:30 AM on Nov 17, 2017,  or until all available participant connections are taken.

Featured presenters on November 17 will be:

Marcy Hamilton, SWMPC, focusing on Septic System Ordinances and examples from the ML&SA Tool Kit web page

Chuck Olson, Omm Engineering, talking about regional sewer systems, especially in lake areas

Paul Sniadecki, ML&SA Board Director, will cover statutory requirements for municipalities to prevent sewage contamination in water, and the impact of the MI Supreme Court decision in the Worth Township matter

For more information contact: Monica Day, Extension Educator – Water Resources, Michigan State University Extension 517-768-2046 (office), 517-604-9500 (cell); or Paul J. Sniadecki, ML&SA Board Director, 269-329-8320


Michigan Senate to Consider Regulating “No Greater Than the Feds,” Hand Over Protection of Clean Air and Water to Trump Administration

October 6, 2017 12:26

by Mitch Barrows
Freshwater Future Policy Associate
E-mail: mitch@freshwaterfuture.org

The Michigan state House voted in May 57 to 50 in favor of a bill (HB‐4205) designed to restrict the ability of state agencies to create regulatory rules that are stronger than federal standards. If passed by the state Senate and signed by Governor Snyder, this bill may end up as the most consequential Michigan environmental law in decades, impacting efforts to prevent invasive species, keep our drinking water clean, and more.

Under the potential law, the directors of executive agencies like the Department of Environmental Quality would face an additional burden of proving “a clear and convincing need” to exceed the federal standard. Agencies would be required to prepare and present “impact statement[s],” which are notably required to emphasize the “cost of compliance” for businesses rather than potential public benefits and positive impacts.

With Scott Pruitt as EPA Director, federal environmental regulations will undoubtedly erode. As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times over the agency’s Clean Power Plan, Clean Water Rule, and established limits on mercury, methane, and ozone pollution. Pruitt’s EPA has already reversed 23 environmental regulations in its first 100 days, and President Trump has further committed to rolling back two administrative rules for every new rule enacted.

Representative Triston Cole (R‐Mancelona) of the 105th House district (Charlevoix, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties) introduced the bill, claiming that the legislation would serve as a ‘check’ on the regulatory system. But if passed, this bill would surrender the security of Michigan’s natural resources to a federal administration working against efforts to safeguard land and water resources that are essential to our economy and way of life.

Federal regulations are baseline protections developed for watersheds and habitats ranging from the Alaskan arctic to the Arizona desert; they are not meant to be comprehensive. The Great Lakes holds twenty percent of the world’s fresh water, and harbors thousands of specialized watersheds. Stewardship of Michigan’s unique and priceless natural resources requires stable, attentive, and proactive management. House bill 4205 is antithetical to Michigan values and our nation’s decentralized system of government, and would hamstring those in power charged with resource conservation.

Visit http://act.freshwaterfuture.org/page/speakout/no‐greater‐than‐the‐feds to find your state Senator and tell them to vote NO on “No Greater Than the Feds.”

Learn about Michigan’s Lakes on-line from MSU Extension

September 20, 2017 19:50

LSLI IMageThe Michigan State University Extension Introduction to Lakes course is being offered online January 2018 and registration is now open! This popular six-week course is offered in a convenient self-paced online format and is designed for anyone interested in lakes, including lakefront property owners, lake users, local government officials, lake managers and educators. Over the last two years, 235 lake enthusiasts across Michigan and surrounding states participated in the class.

The online format allows you, from the comfort of your home or office, to have week-by-week, 24/7 access to six online units — complete with video lectures, activities, resources, discussion forums, quizzes, and Ask-an-Expert webinar sessions with Michigan State University Extension.  Through this convenient format you can increase your knowledge and understanding of lake ecology, lake and their watersheds, shorelines, Michigan water law, aquatic plant management, and citizen involvement. The course schedule allows for regular online communication with classmates and course instructors.

The 2018 course runs January 23 – March 9. Ask-an-Expert webinars are scheduled from 12 to 1 p.m. February 7, February 21, and March 7, 2018. The cost of the course is $115 per person. Register by December 22, 2017 for an early bird discounted price of $95 per person. Registration ends January 16, 2018.

For more details about Introduction to Lakes and to register visit the MSU Extension Introduction to Lakes webpage.

Fourteen Michigan Department of Rural Development Pesticide Applicator Recertification credits, 14 Michigan Department of Education State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH), and 6 Master Citizen Planner Education Credits are available for this course.

A Hot Topic for Lake and Waterfront Home Owners: Short Term Rentals

September 13, 2017 18:20


By Lon Nordeen
Michigan Waterfront Alliance
Board of Directors

This issue has generated a considTrevor-WI-2-05beb5erable amount of interest and debate in Michigan recently and there are a number of good reasons for all of the controversy. First is the accelerating trend toward owners of residential homes, second homes, cabins, condominiums and other residential dwellings (many located on or near lakes or other water bodies) offering their property out for daily or short- term rental to secure additional cash flow through programs like Air BNB, VRBO, Home Away or other concepts which are often scheduled on the computer through third party agencies. This is a different concept than the older rental models we have long seen with weekly to monthly vacation rentals or other housing deals for longer term use by a single family or group that sign a lease.

There are pros and cons with this short-term lease concept:

Pro: property owners have the opportunity to expand their revenue sources and more use of their residence. Realtors and other groups also benefit. The consumers benefit as they have additional short-term housing options outside of traditional hotels, motels, bed and Breakfasts etc.

Con: Noise, increased traffic and activity, rentals may change character of neighborhood, lack of control, possible real or perceived impact on property values, lake/water impact.

Zoning Issues: The MI Zoning Enabling Act gives townships and counties primary responsibility for local zoning and control. Since the expanded short-term rental concept is a relatively new many of these local government bodies have not created new ordinances and rules covering this issue. However due to neighbor concerns and complaints, some townships have begun to address this issue. Actions taken by local townships and municipalities in Michigan have ranged from banning short-term rentals, placing limits on the duration of such activity, and local efforts to beef up zoning and building code rules to try and limit homeowner options.

Since in nature – every action causes a equal and opposite reaction – homeowners wanting to participate in short term rentals have sought solutions in Lansing. Legislative action on this issue has been proposed by Senator Joseph Hune R-22nd District introduced SB 329 and Representative Jason Sheppard R-Bedford R-56th district, HB 4503. Both bills are in their respective Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committees for review since April 2017. These bills would allow residents to have short term rentals for up to 28 days and classify this effort as a residential not commercial property use so that all residential dwelling could classify. MI residents have voiced strong views to their elected representatives about this issue.


“I introduced this biRep Jason Sheppardll to prevent the over-reach of local governments from banning homeowners renting out their home on a short-term basis. We promote to other states to come take a vacation in Michigan and we want to make sure visitors have a place that will accommodate them, to get the best experience of our beautiful State, whether that be a hotel or a short-term house rental.” said Representative Jason Sheppard (56th- Temperance) “To me, this is about you, a homeowner, and your right to rent out your home” added Sheppard. If successful, the legislation would serve to “take away” local control of vacation and short-term rentals.

In Michigan, the realtor association has taken up the cause to fight for short term rentals.


Protect Property Rights and Help Michigan’s Tourism Industry
Tell Your Legislators to Support SB 329/HB 4503
Michigan has been a vacation and tourism destination for decades. The short-term rental of a fully furnished vacation home has long been a valued option for vacationers in Michigan.


CON Voices————————————————————————————————————————–

Also, there are many groups opposing these MI House and Senate Bills. The Michigan Municipal League has stated: “Short-term rentals are causing problems in many communities around the state by creating commercial activity in residential areas. Residential zoning exists to preserve the charter of neighborhoods and protect the property values for every home”.

The Michigan Township Authority has taken a strong position in opposition to these bills since they would reduce local control of zoning.
Providing analysis and insights for all things legislative impacting Michigan’s townships
Short-term rentals, property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and pension reform all top the legislative agenda when lawmakers return to Lansing next month.
Both the House and Senate are on summer recess, putting all bills on hold while representatives and senators work in their districts. But when they return after Labor Day, they’re expected to dive into a large number of issues that will impact townships.

Short-term rentals—Of particular concern is legislation that would take townships out of the equation when it comes to regulating short-term vacation rentals. Two bills—House Bill 4503, sponsored by Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Bedford Twp.), and Senate Bill 329, sponsored by Sen. Joe Hune (R-Hamburg Twp.)—would effectively strip townships and other municipalities of their authority to regulate where vacation and short-term rentals can be located. Instead, the bills would specify that short-term rentals of 28 days or less are a residential—not commercial—property use, allowing them in all residential zones.

Townships also could not require any special use permit of rentals that they don’t require for all other residential homes. Their ability to regulate would instead be limited to ordinances on noise, advertising, traffic and other conditions—completely dismantling ordinances enacted in townships throughout Michigan to help curb problems arising from short-term rentals.

The legislation also could impact communities that have rental ordinances as well as future zoning by local government.

The Legislature is expected to take up the HB 4503 and SB 329 this fall. MTA continues to urge township officials to contact their state representative and state senator to stop this harmful legislation.
The Michigan Lake and Stream Associations has had many calls from its members and lake residents about this issue and has referred callers to the Michigan Waterfront Alliance. If you feel strongly about this issue please contact your local government body and state elected officials.





Join the “Adventures in Collective Water Management Network” on Friday, September 15th for an informative discussion about managing stormwater

September 11, 2017 12:01

This webinar is the 3rd in a series of free, on-going support for riparians following the ML&SA Conference in April 2017.

In Michigan, local communities have authority to require development standards that will lower the damage resulting from heavy rains and major storms. Adoption of many protections is the choice of local government. Do you want to know if your community has the needed protections, or if there is something more they could do? Do you have experience that you think has worked and you think could work elsewhere?

On Sept. 15, 2017, at 1:30 PM, The Adventures in Collective Water Management Network will be offering a forum to learn about local efforts for managing stormwater. This unique webinar format invites participants to contribute to the conversation. If you are inspired to help prevent future damage from storms in your local community, you will not want to miss this free online meeting.

Program Agenda:

1:30 – 1:40 P. M. Meeting Guidelines and program introduction – Monica Day, Water Resources Educator, MSU Extension

1:40 – 2:00 P. M. Who’s Who: Introductions of panelists and participants – Francisco Ollervides, Leadership Development Manager, River Network

2:00 – 2:15 P. M. Review the Rules Part 1: Stormwater management from a national perspective: CWA and Stormwater Management – Katherine Baer, Director Science and Policy, River Network

2:15 – 2:30 P. M. Review the Rules Part 2: Stormwater management: state role – Christe Alwin, MS4 Program Coordinator, Water Resources Division, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

2:30 – 3:00 P. M. Get er dun: “Protecting water resources and public health with a regional sewer district” Chuck Olson, OMM Engineering

3:00 – 3:15 P. M. Energize with soft skills: What science says about how to gain and keep volunteers – Monica Day, Water Resources Educator, MSU Extension

3:15 – 3:30 P. M. Appreciations and Announcements Francisco Ollervides, Leadership Development Manager, RN

•  Space for the webinar is limited. Advance registration is required and can be found at https://glccn.org/groups/adventures-in-collective-water-management/ here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Registration will be accepted until 1130am on 9/15/2017.

Aquatic Invasive Species Alert! Red Swamp Crayfish Detected in Michigan

September 10, 2017 21:23


Red Swamp Crayfish
(Procambarus clarkii)

*Detected in Michigan*

•  Dark red color with bright red raised spots, look like small lobsters
•  Elongated claws and bony exoskeleton
•  Elongated head with a triangular rostrum
•  2.2 inches – 4.7 inches in length
Habitat: Red swamp crayfish live in Red Swamp Crayfisha variety of permanent freshwater habitats. Crayfish are crustaceans that burrow deep into the substrate of their habitat and create large mounds of sand and soil called chimneys with a relatively large hole in the center.
Diet: Crayfish feed heavily on snails, fish, amphibians, and plants.
Native Range: Mississippi river drainage and Gulf coast

U.S. Distribution (outside of native range): Established populations in California, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Introduced but not established in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, and New York.
Local Concern: Red swamp crayfish compete aggressively with native crayfish species for food and habitat. Feeding behavior reduces the amount of available habitat for amphibians, invertebrates, and juvenile fish. Burrowing and foraging behavior can also lead to summer cyanobacteria blooms and eutrophic conditions.
Other Names: Louisiana crayfish, crawfish, crawdads. Louisiana “mudbugs”

Potential Means of Introduction: Aquaculture/aquarium trade, classroom/laboratory release, live bait dumping, small chance of introduction through fish stocking events

Report this species to Seth Herbst, MDNR, at herbsts1@michigan.gov or 517-284-5841 or at www.misin.msu.edu or download the MISIN app to your smartphone

To view an invasive red swamp crayfish focused  YouTube video that was recently produced by the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality  click here

MiCorps Schedules 2017 Conference

August 8, 2017 17:52

2017 MiCorps Conference Flyer

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