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Tyler Holm

Critical Habitat License Plates in MN

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I’ve got the loon. I did some research tonight to find out what the extra $30.00 really goes towards. Here is what I found on the DNR site.

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Show everyone you care about our state's natural resources by proudly displaying Minnesota's conservation license plate. With an annual contribution of $30 or more to the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Critical Habitat Program, you will be helping to preserve important wildlife habitat and plant communities such as wetlands, prairies, old growth forests, and endangered orchid sites.

What is it?

The Critical Habitat Plate was created in 1995 to provide an opportunity for citizens to contribute a nominal amount to conservation of Minnesota's natural resources, and show their commitment with a special vehicle license plate. The Critical Habitat Plate replaces the standard Minnesota license plate on your vehicle.

Does it cost extra?

Yes. The Critical Habitat Plate requires a contribution of at least $30 per year more than a standard plate. There is also a one-time fee of $10 the first year for plate transfer costs. Unfortunately, the IRS has not declared the contribution to be tax deductible.

Where does the additional contribution go?

Your additional contribution of $30 or more goes to the Department of Natural Resources to buy and manage important natural habitats which are preserved as public lands and are open to compatible public use, like hunting and hiking.

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This sounds like a valuable program and I am glad I participated in it. I am fairly new to MN and was skeptical at first, but now I agree it’s a great cause.

I was at a local fishing hole the other day and looking around at the 12-15 vehicles. Only 1 had the Critical Habitat license plates and that vehicle was MINE. I've seen similar cases at other spots where the majority of the vehicles have the standard MN license plates (and there’s nothing really wrong with that).

What do you all think of that? It’s certainly a choice everybody in MN has to make when the purchase their license plates. I’ll gladly give $30 a year to contribute to making the environment a better place for our animals and fish to thrive in.

What plates do you have and why?

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i have had the origional deer plates when they came out, and now i have had the loon plates on sence i got my blazer.

i hunt and fish, so i have no problem paying the fee as long as its for a good cause. plus the plates look good on my truck.

jim

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The only reason why I don't have a CHLP is because they don't allow you to personalize it. This may seem like a pretty poor reason, but it was the deciding factor. I would have been more than happy to give the extra money for the CHLP, but having the personalized plate was a higher priority with my long term plans.

It's my username with the newsgroups, this group, my HSOforum address, (hovermn.com) and eventually will be a part of my business.

So, if the state allows me to stick hovermn on a CHLP, I'm there, but until then, the DNR will have to settle with my donation and subscription to the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer.

BTW - Tyler, I smile everytime I see a CHLP.

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I have the plates on all my trucks. You are not allowed in our hunting camp without them. I may just have to impose that rule on the fishing camp too. I think it's great if we can throw in a little extra for habitat. I just hope all $30 goes to habitat.

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I wish I could put them on my truck, I have a 1 ton and it's mandatory to have Commercial plates on all the 1 ton and above vehicles.

This sucks....

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Does it really go to the DNR or does it go into the [email protected]#*& general fund like our fishing & hunting licenses do? It makes me very angry that our license dollars go to the general fund instead of to the DNR.

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That's always what I've been told, that it goes to the general fund. I'm not sure if it's true or not, but the vagueness of the description on the DNR site, and the responses I've gotten from direct emails to the DNR regarding this issue don't seem to add up.

Maybe I'll email them again and see what response I get this time.

Joel

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The reason I don't have one is that I don't know for sure where the money goes. Who really doesn't want to help improve habitat? I just don't want to donate to the general fund under the guise of a feel good program.

I hope I'm wrong.

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Quote:

The reason I don't have one is that I don't know for sure where the money goes. Who really doesn't want to help improve habitat? I just don't want to donate to the general fund under the guise of a feel good program.

I hope I'm wrong.


My thoughts EXACTLY. Not knowing for sure where the money goes is the only reason I don't have one.

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It is pretty obvious that the state spends a large amount of money through the DNR. Look at all the state hunting land, and how well they keep up on the lakes. I'm not origionally from Minnesota, and I'm very impressed! I don't care if the money goes to the general fund or not! Eventually it makes it back to the DNR. I have the plates, and I will not go hunting or fishing in a truck that doesn't have the plates. I am also a firearm saftey instructor, and I challenge all of you to give up one day and 4 to 5 evenings a year to give something back to the sport! The graditude of watching a 12 year old handle a firearm properly, and thanking you for his/her right to hunt is worth it alone.

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Good point, Gunflint, and that is why I dont have them either.

I'll spend my money at RMEF or DU banquet before I'll put on those plates. That way, I know most of the money is going to where it needs to be.

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The CH plates money does NOT go into the the general fund.

Your additional contribution of $30 or more goes to the Department of Natural Resources to buy and manage important natural habitats which are preserved as public lands and are open to compatible public use, like hunting and hiking.

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The 1st year that i had my plates(DEER)the state sent me a letter showing where the money went and a very small % went to the dnr.Since then I have not recieved another one.

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I used to have the deer plates. Then they came out with the "Proud to be a Veteran" plate and that is what I went to. Give my money to DU now. Have a good one and N Joy the Hunt././Jimbo

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Not knowing where the money goes is a cop out and a poor excuse. If you don't want to donate the $30 don't! If you don't like or want the plates fine, your call, but if you do want the plates, find out where the money goes and get them.

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Critical Habitat license plate funds DO NOT go into the general fund. They never have.

The funds go straight into the Reinvest in Minnesota Resources fund, then into the critical habitat private sector matching account (Statute 84.943)

We all have our reasons. Considering how well the DNR does in MN, and how much public land is offered to us, I am proud to give back to the resource that I take so much enjoyment from. I wouldn't have it any other way. $30 over 1 year is peanuts compared to many other expenses we have from day to day or week to week, or what we give to our preferred outdoors organization.

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RMEF and DU? Good enough causes I guess, but that money is going straight to Montana or Mississippi. At least the plate money stays home. Exactly how many RMEF projects do you see in the great state of Minnesota? DU is only marginally better, we are a huge net exporter of funds to DU. I personally have been apart of 2 attempts to get DU to help fund a land acquisition (with duck ponds) and help at a youth event and we were rudely turned away in both instances. Not trying to throw stones at DU, but they have left a bad taste in my mouth. There are other orgs that keep their money here and that is where I spend my money. Making a statement that you wont go hunting/fishing in a truck without the CH plates is not taking in the whole picture.

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Wxguy and others are right on the money. I just received a response from the DNR stating what others have posted.

Quote:

Joel,

The DNR Information Center asked me to respond to your question about Critical Habitat License Plate funds. By statute, funds generated from the license plate sales go into the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Program. The money does not go into the state's general fund.

Before the DNR can spend any of the RIM funds, it has to match the plate contributions with private donations of cash or land, so every $30 annual plate contribution means $60 for resource management projects. The DNR uses the plate sales funds to buy and manage critical habitats such as native prairies, wetlands, old growth forests, and to help support Nongame Wildlife projects. Acquired lands are protected as public lands and are open to compatible public use.

I have attached a list of specific projects that have been completed with funds generated from license plate sales for your information. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for your interest in the Critical Habitat License Plate Program.

Susan Balgie

DNR Information and Education


Susan also attached a list of projects (sorry, it's long). But it has more than satisfied my concerns and general skepticism regarding what these monies are spent on. I only wish they'd have given a response like this to my emails from a few years ago, or I would've found this information elsewhere!

RIM CRITICAL HABITAT CONSERVATION LICENSE PLATE PROJECTS

Chosen Valley WMA* - Fillmore County

The 150-acre Chosen Valley Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was the first project completed with funds from the Conservation License Plate. The private donation that made this acquisition possible came from the Tri-County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Inc. with help from Chatfield Fish and Game Club. The property was valued at $157,500, but the Tri-County Chapter donated $90,500 of this value to DNR. This donation generated the match necessary to use $67,000 of the conservation plate funds to buy the area from the chapter. The chapter will use the proceeds to buy even more wildlife habitat in the area.

The property is rolling with scattered trees. Bear Creek flows through the property, and a beaver dam has created waterfowl habitat which is heavily used by wood ducks in the fall. Approximately 127 acres of former cropland on the property has been reseeded to native prairie grasses, cool season grasses, and planted with shrubs and conifers. A 3-acre food plot is planted to provide winter food for the resident wildlife species. Pheasants, Hungarian partridge, deer, red fox, coyote, raccoon, mink, muskrat, rabbits, and numerous songbirds use the area.

Mule Lake WMA* - Cass County

A 360-acre prime fish and wildlife property on Mule Lake, about five miles southwest of Longville in north-central Minnesota, was purchased using conservation license plate funds. The new Mule Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be managed for wildlife and fisheries and will remain undeveloped and open to hunting, fishing, hiking, bird-watching and other public uses.

The property includes about 13,400 feet of lakeshore on the east side of Mule Lake. Until the DNR finally acquired the property, it was the longest stretch of privately owned, undeveloped lakeshore in Cass County. The purchase also includes another 2,000 feet of shoreline on Donkey Lake, a smaller lake located just to the south of Mule Lake. The new WMA is adjacent to 1,260 acres of county administered land, which includes an additional 8,500 feet of undeveloped lakeshore on the north bay of Mule Lake.

The WMA lands are mostly wooded with a mix of red oak, sugar maple, basswood, aspen, and birch with large red and white pines scattered throughout. The area is home to deer, black bear, ruffed grouse, waterfowl, herons, osprey and bald eagles. The property includes several wetland areas in the interior and along the lakeshore.

The lake has good populations of game fish including muskellunge, northern pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie and walleye. Mule Lake is one of only 30 native muskie lakes in Minnesota.

The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation and the Mule Lake Property Owners Association worked with the landowners and the DNR for more than two years to work out the details of the project.

The DNR divisions of fisheries and wildlife, Cass County, a number of private partners including the McKnight Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the Smallmouth Alliance, and the Long Lake, Stony Lake, Mule Lake and Wabedo/Little Boy/Inguadona lakes associations all contributed funds toward this purchase. The landowners also made a substantial contribution by agreeing to sell the property for $356,000 less than its appraised value.

Cannon River AMA* - Rice County

Protecting over 2,000 feet on the Cannon River, this 203.6-acre AMA will add significantly to the existing conservation corridor along this river. Many different species of wildlife, including deer, pheasants, waterfowl, shorebirds, furbearers, and woodcock utilize this tract.

Dr. Richard Huston, who donated $100,000 through the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, was the major donor that made this purchase possible. Pheasants Forever, the Cannon/Wells Lake Association, the Cannon River Watershed Partnership, and the Waterville Sportsmen=s Club contributed an additional $125,350. All of these donations were matched with conservation plate funds to purchase this valuable property.

Bear Island WMA - Itasca County

In a scene reminiscent of the deer pictured on a Minnesota lake on the conservation license plate, the Section of Wildlife purchased a large, undeveloped 23.6-acre island (Bear Island) in Deer Lake, located 9 miles northwest of Grand Rapids in Itasca County. Deer Lake is a 3,691-acre clear water lake. Most of the shoreline on this lake is developed. Part of the island contains old growth white cedar and has had a bald eagle=s nest for the past 6 years. The island did have the potential to be developed for lake home sites and the purchase for a wildlife management area will protect the island.

The Deer Lake Association contributed $100,000 that was matched with $100,000 from the conservation license plates. The island will be open to the public for wildlife observation, nature hiking, shore fishing, and shore lunches. No camping will be allowed.

Neal WMA* - Norman County

Native prairie lands on two existing state managed areas benefited from the acquisition of this 292-acre parcel. The purchased property connects the Neal WMA and the Twin Valley Scientific and Natural Area and provides a valuable wildlife corridor as well as facilitating protection and management of the native prairie lands on these two existing units. The Nature Conservancy made this purchase possible with a donation of a critical parcel of land elsewhere in the state that was matched with the $110,000 of conservation license plate money needed to purchase this parcel. The purchased property has been seeded to switchgrass and the potential exists for restoring five or more wetland basins. This site is one of several in the area that are important to the long-term survival of the prairie chicken. Other wildlife using the area include sandhill cranes, moose, deer, jackrabbits, marbled godwits, and upland sandpipers.

McDougall WMA* - Morrison County

Located 2 miles northwest of Royalton, Minnesota, off of Highway 10, this 221-acre tract contains 4,000 feet of wooded river frontage on the Mississippi River that includes both lowland, floodplain woods as well as upland timber. White-tailed deer, river otter, mink, raccoon, ruffed grouse, great blue herons, woodcock, and a variety of nongame mammals and birds are commonly observed or heard on this wildlife area. Public use will center on outdoor recreation such as hunting, trapping, fishing, and nature observation. Much of the former cropland on this property will be converted to native prairie grasses, reducing soil erosion and pesticide and fertilizer use. The Nature Conservancy made the donations that provided the matching license plate funds to buy this property.

Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA - Fillmore County

This 40-acre parcel contains 30 acres of woods and 10 acres of agricultural land. More importantly, however, is what is located underground on this site. It contains several karst (underground) features including sinkholes, an underground stream, and the entrance to Goliath Cave.

Black Rush Lake Restoration - Lyon County

This project involved the restoration of a drained 357-acre wetland in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited. A water control structure was constructed that will allow for manipulating water levels to restore the wetland and aquatic vegetation providing ideal habitat for waterfowl broods.

Ney WMA* - Scott County

Located a short drive from Minneapolis-St. Paul in southwest Scott County, this 160-acre wildlife area provides a perfect place for hunters, birdwatchers, and other nature enthusiasts. There are 95 acres of oak, basswood, and maple woods on the bluffland along the Minnesota River. The upper portions are tillable farmland that will be converted to native grasses and winter food and cover plots. The area provides excellent habitat for white-tailed deer and wild turkeys and is identified as one of the few remaining areas of significant habitat by the DNR County Biological Survey. The landowner, Mr. Donald Ney, made this area possible by donating half the value of his property.

Island Lake Aquatic Management Area* - St. Louis County

Island Lake in southwestern St. Louis County presumably was named for the large island which occupies the center of the lake. This 53-acre island that belonged to the Boy Scouts of America will now be protected and open to the general public thanks to a contribution from the Island Lake Shoreland Association. The association raised over $25,000 that was matched with conservation license plate funds to purchase the property to protect the critical plant and animal communities inhabiting the island. The 1.5 miles of undeveloped shoreline provides the natural habitat needed for bald eagles, loons, shorebirds, and other resident wildlife.

Bertha Moody Aquatic Management Area* - Crow Wing County

This timbered land, totaling 187 acres, protects 3,700 feet of undeveloped shoreline on Gladstone Lake and encompasses an entire 40-acre lake (Moody Lake). This property represents one of the last larger parcels of undeveloped shoreline in Crow Wing County. The shoreline provides valuable, undisturbed habitat for fish and other aquatic animals. The timber on the property includes old growth pines, large aspen, and regenerating white pine.

Carl E. Bonnell WMA* - Anoka County

Located in northwestern Anoka County, this 40-acre property is a site identified on the DNR-County Biological Survey as containing significant natural communities. It is a mix of oak forest and shrub swamp that contains at least one rare plant species. This WMA provides an additional area for public enjoyment of wildlife as well as protecting the property from being developed. The landowners, Joyce and Donald Sage, made this acquisition possible by donating half the value of the property.

Statewide Bald Eagle Survey

As part of the federal delisting of the bald eagle from the endangered and threatened species list, the DNR Nongame Program completed a statewide survey of active bald eagle nesting sites to estimate breeding pairs and productivity. There are currently an estimated 700 nesting pairs of eagles in Minnesota. In the lower 48 states, only Wisconsin and Florida have larger populations. Private donations to the Nongame Checkoff Program were used to match the conservation license plates monies that will be used to fund this important project.

Lac qui Parle WMA* - Lac qui Parle County

Conservation license plate funds also purchased one of the best private land native prairie tracts remaining in western Minnesota. This 390-acre property is now part of the Lac qui Parle WMA. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was instrumental in helping to complete this acquisition and made the donations that provided the matching license plate funds to buy this property. The site has been a Nature Conservancy Registry Site since 1985. The DNR-Division of Wildlife will be conducting intensive management on the site to improve the prairie plant community. The property will also provide excellent habitat for pheasants, deer, and other grassland wildlife species.

Wrightstown WMA* - Otter Tail County

The Fergus Falls Fish & Game Club made this new WMA possible by donating one half the value of this 160-acre parcel. Conservation license plate funds were used to pay them the other half of the value of the property. Both the club and the citizens of Minnesota benefited from this purchase—the citizens got a new WMA for public hunting and other recreational use for half the cost, and the club received funds to spend on other worthwhile conservation projects. The new WMA is a mixture of oak hardwoods, grassland, and wetlands and provides habitat and hunting opportunities for deer, ducks, geese, squirrels, and wild turkeys.

Lambert Prairie WMA* - Nobles County

Pheasants Forever donated half of this 86-acre unit through the conservation plate program. The property contains cropland, wetlands, and native prairie. This unit will be managed as a pheasant habitat module to provide cover and food plots to help pheasants survive the winter. Wetlands will be restored and native prairie seed harvested on the area will be used to restore additional prairie.

Banks WMA* - Cottonwood County

By matching cash donations totaling $20,500 from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and the Cottonwood County Game and Fish League, the DNR was able to purchase this 31.8-acre tract. The property helps complete state ownership on a large wetland and will facilitate the installation of a water control structure on this wetland to allow for water level manipulation to improve the wetland for waterfowl and other aquatic wildlife species. Thirteen acres of this tract are oak woods, which is relatively scarce in this intensively farmed portion of the state.

Dassett Island Aquatic Management Area, Crow Wing County

Located in Rush Lake on the famous Whitefish Chain of Lakes, this 16.9-acre island parcel contains old growth white pine and 6,000 feet of undisturbed lakeshore. Undeveloped shoreline such as this provides critical habitat for bald eagles, loons, shorebirds, and other fish and wildlife species. The Rush Lake Association raised $52,500 in private donations toward the purchase price of this property. Their generous donation was equally matched with critical habitat license plate monies to fund over half the purchase price of this beautiful parcel of land.

Upper Cormorant Lake Aquatic Management Area – Becker County

Located in the Detroit Lakes area, this 28-acre parcel lies on Upper Cormorant Lake and has over 1,600 feet of shoreline with extensive stands of emergent aquatic vegetation. A unique little bay is connected to the main bay at this site, and provides spawning, nursery, and feeding habitat for a variety of fish species as well as nesting habitat for waterfowl. The landowners made this acquisition possible by agreeing to a bargain sale and the matching license plate dollars were used to help fund the reduced purchase price.

Tiedeman WMA* – Goodhue County

This 100-acre parcel was purchased from the Hiawatha Land P.F. Inc., a nonprofit conservation organization protecting wildlife lands in the Goodhue County area. The group donated half the value of this property, which provided the matching license plate dollars to purchase the property at half price. This WMA is located in an area of the state with a very high population density, but very few public wildlife lands. Much of the 100 acres is now in grassland and provides very beneficial habitat for pheasants, deer, and other grassland wildlife species.

Janet Johnson Memorial WMA*– Chisago County

A bargain sale of the first parcel acquired in this WMA from the landowner’s father, Jerome Hoppe, generated the matching license dollars to purchase this 10-acre site. This parcel provides access to the original 75 acres and will result in one less house being built next to the wildlife area.

Bowstring Deer Yard WMA* – Itasca County

Located just miles from the northeast end of Lake Winnibigoshish, this 160-acre tract is adjacent to another 160-acre parcel previously donated to the DNR. The landowner of this parcel generously agreed to a 50 percent bargain sale that generated the matching dollars to pay for the other 50 percent of value. The property provides excellent deer and ruffed grouse habitat.

Sulem Lake WMA* – Watonwan County

Cash contributions from the Cottonwood County Game & Fish League, the VFW Post 9607, the Watonwan Game & Fish Club, the Mountain Lake Sportsmen’s Club, and the Watonwan Pheasants were matched with license plate dollars to help fund the purchase of this 45-acre property on the south shore of Sulem Lake. Sulem Lake is a shallow, good quality waterfowl lake. The property will protect shoreline on the lake, provide an additional access, and an area for a wildlife food plot.

* Open to public hunting

Joel

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Nice job pulling up the facts! I had a set of the deer (AA) and now have the loon on both vehicles. The way I see it, this is one of the few programs where I know exactly where the money is going AND I can enjoy the benefits of its usage.

I find it ironic that some people pay the extra money for the plates because they are prettier than the standard issue, while some sportsmen have chosen to avoid it because of what they have heard or think might be the case. The information is out there and accessable. On issues that hit close to home take the time to educate yourself and make the best decision for yourself.

OK, I am off my soapbox now.

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Thanks for posting that Joel!

And just an FYI to anyone who might want to make up for past years, the $30 fee is the minimum donation to get the plates. You can always give them more! shocked.giflaugh.gifgrin.gif

Mostly joking there of course, but it is very cool to see the huge results of getting these plates. We have it very well here in MN because of programs like this.

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That is very cool to actually see where the money goes. I am now convinced and will be getting these plates when it comes time to renewing my tabs. Thanks for the info!

Matt

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Thanks for the information Joel! Always good to have the facts straight. I know when my tabs are due I will be buying the Critical Habitat Plates. I was about to do it this past spring but just didn't because I figured the money was going to the general fund and just didn't feel comfortable not knowing where my money was going.

The facts are listed above folks.....no excuses now!

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Quote:

It is pretty obvious that the state spends a large amount of money through the DNR.


I'm a snowmobiler who has directly benefited from DNR programs to provide more trail miles in the state than I'll ever be able to ride in 5 lifetimes. I've taken my kid to firearm safety and snowmobile safety, both of which wouldn't be possible without support from the DNR. I realize the CH plates are a different program, and that these things also wouldn't be possible without dedicated involvement by volunteers. However, the DNR deserves credit, and I think that by and large their money is spent as wisely as any governmental unit can spend it. wink.gif

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