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Meeting Set on Proposed Temporary Fishing Season Closure on Cravath and Trippe Lakes Walworth Count News Release

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Wisconsin State River in Winter with Snow Fall - Ice Fishing Digest

Public Meeting on Proposed Closure Dec. 17 in Whitewater

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will hold a public meeting on Dec. 17 in Whitewater to discuss a temporary fishing season closure on Cravath and Trippe lakes in Walworth County to conserve fish populations and habitat during a scheduled drawdown of water levels.

The city of Whitewater has undertaken a drawdown of water levels on the lakes as part of a project aimed at controlling invasive aquatic plants, compacting sediment and improving water quality. The city has requested a temporary closure of the fishing season for the remainder of the drawdown, with completion of the project and return to normal water levels slated for spring 2021.

Fish habitat will be limited during the drawdown, which can concentrate fish and make them more susceptible to fishing and overharvest. To limit the potential impacts to fish populations, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will temporarily close fishing during the drawdown until further notice is issued.

The fishing season closure would protect the vulnerable fishery from harvest, protect habitat and provide for the personal safety of the public by preventing access to the spring-fed lakes, especially during the ice fishing season. Fisheries biologists are proposing to close fishing on both lakes beginning Dec. 18, 2019 and extending through the spring of 2021.

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The public informational meeting will be held on Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Common Council Room City Hall, 312 W. Whitewater St., Whitewater.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Last Revised: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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Wisconsin

Wardens Save Souped-up Skunk on Oconto County lake

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This skunk enjoyed the soup too much.

Soup often is considered one of those cozy, comfort foods that are akin to wearing an electric blanket in your gut.

And then there is the skunk’s version. Let’s call it concussion comfort, shall we?

Jam that heads into the soup can as far as possible — and get every single last hint of taste until the cylinder is licked clean.

This skunk enjoyed the soup too much.

This skunk enjoyed the soup too much.

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Then what?

Wait for someone to come with the dessert tray – complete with pliers. Or, tap dance in a circle until someone notices that something is not quite right with one of our wildlife friends. In this case, it was a person ice fishing as the skunk waddled about.

So, the angler called 911 to report a skunk wearing a soup can on White Potato Lake in Oconto County.

OK, we give. Let’s go! Wardens Jamin Leuzzo and Tim Werner responded to the scene on Monday, March 9, not sure what they would find. Sure enough, the report was spot on – or make that, soup’s on!

There was the skunk neck-deep in a soup can. It truly was not funny so they quickly hatched a plan. One would approach the skunk with a box and trap it before wearing its cologne. Warden Jamin Leuzzo did OK. The box? Not so lucky.

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Warden Jamin Leuzzo approaches to help free the skunk.

Warden Jamin Leuzzo approaches to help free the skunk.

Once the skunk was inside the box, Warden Tim Werner approached the perturbed skunk from the safer end, put his hand under the lifted box end and freed the skunk’s head from the can. The wardens quickly backed off as the box was tossed. The skunk skedaddled off the ice pretty quickly – no doubt in search of a slice of pie and a cup of coffee.

As Warden Tim concludes: “Just another day in the life of a warden!” Time to add skunk-saver to the skill set list. Stay safe out there!

If you have information regarding natural resource violations, you may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay reported information to conservation wardens.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin Outdoor Report for December 20, 2019

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Ice jam on the Flambeau River. Photo credit: DNR

This weekend’s Winter Solstice officially marks the beginning of winter, but areas of the north have already endured plenty of winter-like weather. There have been over 45 inches of snow recorded at the Brule River State Forest ranger station since the first snowfall.

Some additional snow late last week improved cross-country ski conditions and allowed a few more counties to open snowmobile trails on the travelwisconsin.com Snow Conditions Report. Several northern parks and forests are reporting cross-country ski trail conditions ranging from good to excellent. Northern ice anglers are finding deep snow and mud to be an issue.

Gun hunters will have one more opportunity, the holiday hunt, to harvest an antlerless deer in the farmland zone.

Early results from Christmas Bird Counts are reflecting the slow pattern prevalent much of this fall and winter. Exceptions include some resident species like cardinals, blue jays and woodpeckers.

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FISHING

Buffalo County

Ice has started to form on Fountain City Bay, although there are still some slushy sections on the ice. There have been a few early ice fishermen.

Iron County

Ice fishers are finding deep snow and mud to be an issue.

Polk County

Ice thickness is between 3.5 and 7 inches with snow and slush on top near Amery. Ice fishing has been slow.


HUNTING & TRAPPING

Iron County

Although deer hunters may be struggling to get into their bow stands, hound hunters will find favorable conditions with no crust on top of the snow.

Marinette County

The December statewide antlerless rifle season has ended. Gun hunters will have one more opportunity, the holiday hunt, to harvest an antlerless deer in the farmland zone of Marinette County.


WILDLIFE

Vilas County

Travel is difficult for wildlife, but the birds seem to go about their business of foraging up and down the trees, picking salt and dirt off the roadways and visiting area bird and suet feeders.


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SEASONAL CONDITIONS

Ashland County

Early results from Christmas Bird Counts are reflecting the slow pattern prevalent much of this fall and winter. Exceptions include some resident species like cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers. Downy, hairy, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers continue to show increasing populations, while red-headed woodpeckers remain as far north as Florence and Sawyer counties this year thanks to good acorn crops. This season’s third and fourth varied thrushes photographed in Ashland and Outagamie counties.

Door County

We received 5 inches of fresh snow on Dec. 12, adding to the 8-inch base. Trail work is continuing on trails that suffered tree damage from the Dec. 1 snowstorm. Most trails are accessible now for skiing, hiking or snowshoeing. Temps are seasonal and mild, ranging from the low 20s into the 30s.

Douglas County

There has been no shortage of snow in Douglas County. The Brule River State Forest grooming crew, which mainly consists of two staff members, has been working on the after-hours ski trail system every day since Dec. 2. There have been over 45 inches of snow recorded at the state forest ranger station since the first snowfall of the season! The snow depth at the monitoring site measures at 23 inches as of Dec. 17. Skiing and snowshoeing conditions are excellent in the state forest now. Please take the opportunity over the holidays to get outdoors and enjoy it.

Iron County

There are two feet of snow and counting throughout the county. Snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and downhill enthusiasts are reaping the benefits of the abundance of snow; conditions are perfect!

Marinette County

Deep fluffy snow (12+ inches) covers much of the county, making getting around the woods taxing. Snowmobile trails are reported to be open in some areas, but the heavy snow we received earlier this month really pulled down a lot of trees, and many trails are still being worked on. Deer are now keying in heavily on food sources, primarily acorns or corn.

Milwaukee County

Lack of snow cover and slightly milder temperatures in the south are also allowing several migrant species to linger longer than usual, albeit in very small numbers, including gray catbird, Baltimore oriole, Eastern phoebe, Nashville and orange-crowned warblers, chipping sparrow, and Virginia rail. Rarities found this week were Townsend’s solitaire in Milwaukee, the easternmost found in the country this month save for one in Massachusetts.

Sawyer County

Near Flambeau River State Forest, snowmobile trails are opening up, but use caution, as many of the swamps and low areas are wet and hazardous. Lake ice conditions are poor to fair at best. Ice depth is inconsistent with large amounts of snow, slush, and water on top, with some areas having open water still. Ski trails still have not been groomed due to mechanical issues but should be back on track soon.

Washburn County

We have fantastic snow conditions for skiing and snowmobiling near Spooner. About 14 inches or so in southern Washburn County, more as you go north. Rough-legged hawks are abundant.

Vilas County

A heavy blanket of snow covers the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest, giving one the impression that it is mid-February and not mid-December. Snowshoes are a must if one wants to “take a hike.”


PARKS & TRAILS

Ashland County

The groomer is back up and running at Copper Falls State Park and the cross-country ski trails are in good shape. There are some ruts in the meadow from hauling damaged equipment out earlier this week. The trail is groomed for skate and classic cross-country skiing and was tracked on Friday, Dec. 13.

Burnett County

The Brandt Pines Ski Trail System at Governor Knowles State Forest is groomed for skate and classic cross-country skiing and were tracked on Dec. 16. Trails are in excellent condition.

Chippewa County

Lake Wissota State Park cross-country ski trails were groomed for skate and tracked for classic cross-country skiing on Dec. 14 and are in excellent condition.

The Nordic cross-country ski trails at Brunet Island State Park were groomed and tracked for classic cross-country skiing on Dec. 19 and are in good conditions.

Columbia County

With even a light dusting of snow, the MacKenzie Center’s woodland trails spring to life with the tracks of many species. On the Hardwood and Wildlife Trails, the leaf-off allows excellent views through the trees. Possible wildlife sightings include white-tailed deer, raccoon, coyote, fox and many species of songbirds and raptors.

Douglas County

Winter has arrived at Pattison State Park in a short time. We received 30 inches of snow over Thanksgiving, and then a few days later, another winter storm left us with over 10 inches of snow. Both Big and Little Manitou Falls are open for viewing. Winter trails are not maintained, but parking is available. With so much snow in a short time, it has been very challenging working on the cross-country ski trails. Currently, all ski trails have been rolled only, and with so much snow, this will take time as we are trying to compact all the snow to a ski base that can be groomed and tracked.

Although it seems like we have already endured plenty of the northland’s weather, this weekend’s Winter Solstice officially marks the beginning of winter. Currently, the snow depth at the Brule River State Forest measured 22 inches, and the total recorded accumulation since early November adds up to more than 46 inches. The weekend forecast calls for a bit of a warm-up. With highs in the mid 30s, it should be a great time to get outdoors and enjoy all the snow! On Monday and Tuesday staff groomed and tracked the entire After Hours Ski Trail system. The classic only trail is rolled but not tracked at this time due to equipment maintenance. The skate lanes are in good shape and with the recent cold weather should be firming up nicely. The trails are in excellent shape. There is at least 8-10 inches of base.

Dunn County

The Red Cedar State Trail from Menomonie to Downsville is groomed, and an excellent classic track is set as well as a groomed skate lane. There are two classic set tracks with a middle skate lane from Menomonie to Irvington (3 miles), and a single classic track with a wide skate lane from Irvington to Downsville (4.5 miles). Plenty of snow with a good base. The ice wall and Red Cedar River are in fine winter form. There are excellent skate ski conditions at the Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area, with 90 percent groomed. Classical cross-country tracks will be set soon.

Fond du Lac County

The Norther Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest has received no significant snow since Dec. 1. Very little snow base is left on cross-country ski trails. Leaf and twig debris throughout. Hikers and pets are prohibited form ski trails when snow is present, or when warm weather hiking creates ruts on the ski trail base. All other hiking trails are open, as are the horse and mountain bike trails.

Iron County

The MECCA cross-country ski trails at the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area were groomed for skate and classic cross-country skiing and were tracked on Dec. 13 and all 21K are in excellent condition. Snowshoe trails also excellent! Trails are on rolling glacial terrain through pine, spruce and tamarack forests. A heated chalet with a vault toilet, wax bench, and changing room is located at the Cabin trailhead. There is a second trailhead at the Little Turtle Flowage parking lot.

Lincoln County

There’s plenty of snow for skiing and snowshoeing at Council Grounds State Park. Turkeys, deer and other wildlife make use of park trails to get around more easily in the deep snow. Keep that in mind if you’d like to see wildlife during your visit.

Marinette County

Cross-country ski trails at Governor Thompson State Park and Peshtigo River State Forest were groomed and tracked on Dec. 13. Trails are in excellent condition at Gov. Thompson and good condition at Peshtigo River. Due to limited staffing over the Holidays, grooming will not occur again until after Jan. 1.

Polk County

Cross-country ski trails at Interstate Park and were groomed and tracked for classic on Thursday, Dec. 12. Trails are in good condition. Due to limited staffing over the Holidays, grooming will not occur again until after Jan. 1.

Vilas County

Cross-country ski trails in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest are in good condition. Trails were tracked Dec. 17 at Escanaba and Raven with good to very good conditions. There is 16-18 inches of snow in the undisturbed woods. McNaughton and Madeline trails were groomed Dec. 15 after the forest received about 2 inches of fluffy snow over the weekend.

Waukesha County

The lower manmade snow cross-country ski loop at Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest was groomed Dec. 19 along with tail end hill and the lower section of magic carpet hill. Some extra snow was made on Magic carpet overnight to help solidify the hill. The new snow was not able to be groomed yet due to it being soft. Please use caution on magic carpet and at the bottom of magic carpet. Skiers should stay to the right while coming down the hill to avoid the fresh snow. Reminder the ski loop is counter clockwise direction of travel to prevent accidents and injuries.

Last Revised: Friday, December 20, 2019

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Wisconsin

Outdoor Report for November 22, 2019

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Coots on Lake Mendota - Photo credit: DNR

 - Photo credit: DNR
Most of the snow that fell last week in southern Wisconsin has melted.
Photo credit: DNR

Outdoor Report is your weekly snapshot for all things outdoors from across the state. Here is a brief look at what Wisconsin has in store for you this week.

Excitement is in the air for the nine-day gun deer season opening Saturday. Hunters should still see some bucks pushing does around, but the rut appears to be winding down. Most snow that fell in the south has melted, and only the far north had snow remaining. Sunny days and above freezing daytime temps have softened the ice in low lying areas, making walking through swampy areas trickier.

Geese are now finding more picked cornfields, but field conditions are deplorable with the mud and standing water, making access difficult. Wild turkeys are grouping up into larger flocks and are being seen in recently harvested fields.

With the cold weather during the first half of November, anglers got an early start to ice fishing as many small lakes and bays of larger lakes made several inches of solid ice, but there is still a lot of open water on the bigger lakes.

For more on Wisconsin’s outdoors, check out the full Outdoor Report below.

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FISHING

Marinette County

A few brave anglers are getting out on the ice in shallow, protected bays and backwater. Ice reports have come in of two to three inches in some spots, but there is still a lot of open water on the bigger lakes.

Oneida County

With the cold weather we had during the first half of November, anglers got an early start to the ice fishing season as many small lakes and bays of larger lakes made several inches of solid ice. Anglers were reporting decent action on walleye and panfish in the Woodruff area. However, with the recent milder weather and some wet snow, anglers are now reporting sloppier wet conditions on the ice. Anglers seeking solid ice fishing opportunities should use extreme caution and be sure to check in with local bait shops and other information sources before venturing out.


HUNTING & TRAPPING

Columbia County

There is still quite a bit of standing corn across the county, which may hamper hunting conditions for the upcoming nine-day gun deer season. The rut appears to be winding down. Duck hunters reported some limited success last weekend, however, warming temps may open more water back up and provide more water hunting opportunities again.

Dane County

Coots on Lake Mendota - Photo credit: DNR
Coots on Lake MendotaPhoto credit: DNR

There are moderate numbers of waterfowl in the Dane County area with open water present on rivers and larger bodies of water. Over the weekend, Dane County hunters did well on ducks on large lakes. Tundra swans are also present in good numbers on the Madison lakes. Geese are now finding more picked cornfields, but field conditions are deplorable with the wet conditions making access difficult.

Dodge County

Horicon Marsh is mostly frozen, so waterfowl hunting on the marsh has come to an end. Deer continue to move, and some of the standing corn has been harvested. Good deer numbers are being seen.

Iowa County

DNR continues to stock pheasants at various properties in Iowa County, and neighboring counties. Wisconsin River levels have receded, making the Avoca Prairie SNA accessible once again. Wild turkeys are grouping up into larger flocks and have been seen in recently harvest crop fields. Deer are still very active, with reports of bucks showing rutting signs. However, these are slowing down compared to a few weeks ago. The snow has nearly melted.

Iron County

A very mild-weathered weekend coupled with higher deer numbers should bring more significant hunting opportunities for opening weekend. Hunters throughout much of the county are observing a good amount of does and a few young bucks still chasing them. Snow covers most of the county with less around Gurney and Saxon — makes for great scouting opportunities. Get outside and bring someone new; it’s not often we get weather like this for the nine-day.

Juneau County

Bowhunters have been seeing bucks, scrapes and rubs in the park. The Buckhorn State Park area north of County Road G and north of 31st Street is open for gun deer hunting, as well as the Yellow River Wildlife Area. The rest of the park and Buckhorn Wildlife Area are bow hunting only. Maps are available online or at the park office.

Kenosha County

Richard Bong State Recreation Area in the last week has seen more deer in fields in the evening before the end of shooting time than any other time this year. Still seeing a few fresh rubs and scrapes. For the most part, all the snow is melted from the ground.

Langlade County

Near Antigo, conditions are setting up for a good opening weekend of gun deer season. Hunters are reporting good rutting activity throughout the county. The rut, accompanied by a very healthy deer population, should provide hunters with plenty of opportunities to see and harvest deer. Cold temperatures have provided frozen ground conditions, giving hunters decent access to traditionally wet areas. Hunters should be aware that intense wind storms significantly impacted many areas on public lands in July. Please check your hunting sites ahead of time.

Marinette County

Near Wausaukee, the rut seems to be slowing down, but gun hunters will still see some bucks pushing does around and can use rubs and scrapes to help locate a good spot. Some oaks produced heavy acorns this year and are still being visited regularly by deer. Hunters should know that baiting is illegal in Marinette County, so finding a natural food source will be helpful for a successful hunt. There is only a dusting of snow left in parts of the county. Sunny days and above freezing daytime temps have softened the ice in low lying areas, making walking through swampy areas a bit tricky.

Sawyer County

The past weekend brought more snow than forecasted in the Flambeau River State Forest. Approximately four inches cover the ground but should settle quite a bit the next few days. Whitetail rut activity is still present from public reports. Most of the area waterways are frozen, making waterfowl hunting almost non-existent in the area. Just a reminder to be extra safe in the woods this weekend as there will be a lot of other hunters. Be mindful and courteous.

Vernon County

This fall, there have already been several rounds of early snowfall near Viroqua. Trappers, hunters and all folks outdoors were able to track various wildlife species. With warm temperatures and rain, the snow is now gone. Weather on opening day is forecast to be mild, in the upper 30s with a light west wind. Archers have been having success with an abundant deer herd and a bonanza acorn crop. Be safe, have fun and good luck this weekend.

Vilas County

Recent snowfall makes seeing and tracking deer easier in the Northern Highlands American Legion State Forest. Deer still moving more during daylight hours due to the rut and hunters are enjoying the increased visibility, if not the colder temps. Commuters should continue to be vigilant when out driving; give yourself enough reaction time while driving and break, never swerve, for deer running out in front of your vehicle.

Deer out on the road with an oncoming truck.

Washburn County

It should be a great season and excitement is in the air! Bucks are in rut, and the weather is expected to be pleasant. It was snowing this week here and in surrounding counties. This should give hunters a white background and nice weather for the season! Wildlife biologists in northwestern Wisconsin need adult deer submitted for CWD testing. This is especially important with the positive captive elk found in southeast Burnett County. Please help us monitor and manage for a healthy deer herd. Hunters who have questions should call 715-634-4025.


WILDLIFE

Milwaukee County

In Lakeshore State Park, red-breasted mergansers are starting to come into the lagoon for winter, along with a couple of hooded mergansers. Large groups and pairs of hooded mergansers have also been seen up the Menomonee River along Hank Aaron State Trail. Recently horned larks, Lapland longspurs, a Lincoln’s sparrow and rusty blackbird were also sighted.


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SEASONAL CONDITIONS

Sawyer County

Most smaller lakes in the Hayward area are now ice-covered. Ice depth is inconsistent, and anyone looking to get on the water should use extreme caution, especially with warmer days in the near forecast. Large lakes still have large open-water areas. However, some anglers are getting out on local waters and finding up to four inches of solid ice.


PARKS & TRAILS

Adams County

Visitors to Roche-A-Cri State Park have been hiking in from the winter lot. State park hunting is now open until Dec. 15. Hunting maps are available online or by the self-registration in the winter lot on Czech Avenue.

Chippewa County

Hunting is now open in the Lake Wissota State Park in designated areas only. Highs around 40 degrees will likely melt the little snow we had on the ground. Some of the bays of Lake Wissota are holding ice, but dangerous ice conditions exist. Most of the lake is still open water, but the water around our boat launch is frozen.

Dunn County

The Red Cedar State Trail was snow-covered earlier in the week but the snow has since melted. Please remember, the Red Cedar Trail from Menomonie to Downsville and most of the trails at Hoffman Hills Recreation Area are groomed for cross country skiing. When trails are groomed, walking, snowshoeing, biking and other activities are not allowed during this time. The Red Cedar Trail south of Downsville is open for these activities in the winter as well as some of the trails at Hoffman Hills. A reminder that the park hunting season opened on Nov. 15. There is a section of the Red Cedar Trail that is open to hunting during this time.

Hunting at Hoffman Hills Recreation area is only allowed during the Nov. 9 gun deer season. Please plan and wear bright clothing if using the trail or recreation area.

Eau Claire County

The Chippewa River State Trail was snow-covered but the snow has since melted. As of Nov. 15, hunting is allowed on the state trail from Caryville to the west. If you plan to enjoy the trail, please wear bright colors during this season.

Fond du Lac County

Nearly all the snow is gone from the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, and most of the leaves are down. This weekend is the opening of the deer gun season, which continues through Dec. 1, followed by muzzleloader and antlerless deer seasons through Dec. 15. The Mauthe Lake and Long Lake Campgrounds are closed to hunting, and are a good alternative to hikers during these popular hunting seasons. All forest visitors are strongly encouraged to wear brightly colored clothing if venturing outside of the campgrounds. The Tamarack Trail is also closed to hunting, but remains very wet.

Juneau County

In Buckhorn State Park, ice is forming on the lake. Park staff do not monitor ice conditions. Trails are great for hiking.

Lincoln County

At Council Grounds State Park, the extended weather forecast is calling for dry weather and near average temperatures, so time spent in the park should be comfortable for hunters and hikers alike. It looks unlikely there will be snow on the ground for the weekend.

Milwaukee County

The season is shifting at Havenwoods State Forest. It’s a great time to get outdoors and view wildlife and deer movement. Rutting behavior has increased, coyotes have been spotted at all hours of the day. Many small mammals are scurrying about, and various songbirds, woodpeckers and raptors are active across the property. Minimal leaf cover remains. The trail system is not maintained in winter. The trails are wet and may be leaf-covered in areas.

Trempealeau County

Tundra swans are moving through the Perrot State Park area and can be seen in Trempealeau Bay and the nearby Trempealeau Refuge. Most of the leaves have dropped, but the oaks on Trempealeau Mountain are still providing some color. The dock has been removed for the season, and the water system is closed in the campground. There are a few campsites available for camping through November or until we get measurable snow. All hiking trails are open, but hunting has begun in the park. Brady’s Bluff, Riverview and Bay trails are closed to hunting.

Last Revised: Friday, November 22, 2019

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