September 23, 2019

Grizzly Bears, The Courts, The Government, The RIGGED SYSTEM

Reinstatement of ESA Listing for the Grizzly Bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Compliance With Court Order

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are issuing this final rule to comply with a court order that had the effect of reinstating the regulatory protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), for the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Thus, this final rule is required to reflect the change effected by that order to the GYE grizzly bear population’s status on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. DATES: This action is effective July 31, 2019. However, the court order had legal effect immediately upon being filed on September 24, 2018.<<<Read More>>>

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The Wolf Farce Delisting Continues After Extension of Comment Period

Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), recently published a proposal to remove the gray wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and we announced the opening of a 60-day public comment period on the proposed action, ending May 14, 2019. We then extended the comment period by 60 days, ending July, 15, 2019, to allow all interested parties additional time to comment on the proposed rule. We now announce a public information open house and public hearing on our proposed rule. We also notify the public of the availability of the final peer review report containing the individual peer reviews of our proposal and information on the peer review process.<<<Read More>>>

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Prescribing an Opioid for a Fatal National Law

By James Beers:

My Inbox overflows with every variety of the following notice from those Congressmen and Senators that have been hiding under their desks (or having dinners with their favorite lobbyist) for the past several decades.  One even seemed to be an invitation.

RSVP –

Dear Sir:

Thank you for your Western Caucus Applauds Recovery of the Gray Wolf and Proposed Rule to Delist the Species notice.

If this were a movie, it would be appropriate at this point for the orchestra to burst forth with the 1812 Overture conclusion complete with the horns, drums, cymbals and cannons celebrating Napoleon’s defeat in Russia.

Substitute, in place of “Western Caucus” above, your favorite “conservation” organization; or your natural resource-dependent business lobbyist; or the names of your neighbors or relatives that have been harmed by wolves (dogs killed, cattle/sheep killed, hunting ruined, etc.); or “your” state wildlife agency that has been “helpless” before federal bureaucrats; or all those folks that think this is making “America Great Again” – but do not substitute my name.

Every one of the similar “news releases” are stuffed with every Tom, Dick and Harriet that was (and remains) AWOL in the tragedy of the federal government’s forcible imposition and ruthless protection of wolves (and grizzly bears for that matter) in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 States.  These enthusiasts go on and on and on about how, “I look forward to the implementation of this rule so that the states can properly manage their own gray wolf population and alleviate the impacts this species has on our local farmers, their livestock, numerous family pets, and big game herds” and about how they and their colleagues tried and tried but their “proposals were challenged with frivolous lawsuits from extremist organizations who don’t rely on science or facts and seek to fundraise by keeping species on the Endangered Species Act in perpetuity”.  Like the bachelor relative that spent the War in Fort Dix, their tales of battles fought are but sad imaginings. If they were actually aware of and concerned about “the impacts this species (i.e. wolves) has on our local farmers, their livestock, numerous family pets, and big game herds” why did they not do anything about it for years?

The wolf is no more “delisted”, “recovered” or its “management returned to the state” than Eastern European countries were “liberated” after WWII when Russia renamed them “Democratic People’s Republic of (fill-in-the-blank).  I say this is because:

1.    The Endangered Species Act with all its unconstitutional bureaucratic powers remains intact.  This means that when the current occupant of the White House leaves, the reassertion of the “need” to declare the (fill-in-the-blank) wolves of SE Colorado or the “remnant” blue/gray wolves of the Distinct Population Segment Pack in Northern Kentucky East of Hwy 65 will once more be on the table.  The new areas filling with wolves will “need” federal protection to guarantee “diversity” and “Alpha males”. The areas first forced to accept wolves and where states are now or soon will be “managing” “their” wolves will, according to some federal “expert”, be “overharvesting”, or failing to prevent hybridization with coyotes and dogs, or anyone of dozens of concocted and imaginary reasons be in “need” of federal authority.

2.    Wolves (and grizzly bears) are the federal and radical’s weapons of choice to disable Rural American economies and communities in order to control and vacate them.  If the last 40 years have taught Rural Americans anything; it is that politicians have profited mightily from passing laws that enable radical environmental organizations to utilize self-serving bureaucrats in order to destroy ranching, hunting, trapping, animal ownership and use, dams, forest management, range management, rural economies and rural “domestic Tranquility”.  This while the politicians are AWOL and blameless once again as they struggle to no avail to enact “proposals challenged with frivolous lawsuits from extremist organizations who don’t rely on science or facts and seek to fundraise by keeping species on the Endangered Species Act in perpetuity”.  Poor babies!

3.    If the current President is unable to replace and reduce the army of bureaucrat ideologues (the odds of that sadly being longer than Old Nellie winning the Kentucky Derby), the bureaucrats that established these unethical government activities and wrote the regulations underpinning them, plus the environmental/animal rights/anti-American extremist organizations they work for intermittently, remain ready to make the wolf and associated issues like Wilderness and grizzly bears once more front and center.

4.    In the meantime, state Treasuries and State Wildlife Agencies will pick up all the costs of maintaining what the federal government created and imposed and the future costs of all the places wolves spread to from livestock and dog compensation to resolution of human safety and wildlife disease problems.  Increased lawsuits by radicals based on spurious precedents of the past 30 years will be coupled with abundant “research papers” pointing out “new data” about wolves and their travails from unproven and undisputable claims about numbers, reproduction and presence to submergence in domestic dog and coyote DNA.  Add in the lawsuits about “inhumane” violations of wolf management (snares, dogs, poisons, lengthy seasons, etc.) and the amount of authority and money leftover in any state to “manage” other wildlife will be severely depleted.

Consider the sordid record of the ESA to date:

–       Wolves were “listed” despite numbers in the millions worldwide.

–       Wolves have thousands of years of written and reported history of killing humans, devastating rural peoples’ families, economies and their communities. Like so many disagreeable historical facts of late, these facts are denied and ignored.

–       Wolves were exterminated at great time and expense throughout the settled landscapes of Europe and the Lower 48 States in the past 200 years when time, manpower and technology made it possible.  This is treated today as a genocide of greater concern to urban society than abortion or “mercy” killing.

–       When US Fish & Wildlife Service requested money and authority to re-introduce wolves into the West in the late 1980’s, Congress refused to grant either. Despite Congressional refusal, in the mid 1990’s, USFWS secretly took $45 to 60 Million out of state wildlife agency funding from Excise Taxes and trapped wolves somewhere in Canada, imported them clandestinely, and released them in Yellowstone Park – a federal enclave with “Exclusive Jurisdiction” meaning a place where NO State Jurisdiction or Authority exists.  Once released, the wolves spread to surrounding states and then to the states that surrounded them and as they continue to do. 

–       When, four years later Congress was made aware of the theft of the State Funds by Government Accounting Office Auditors to conduct an unauthorized act, no one was even admonished much less punished and those mainly responsible were promoted and went on to very high-paying jobs with the extremist organizations they enabled as bureaucrats.

–       No Governors were ever asked if they would allow, much less wanted federal wolves, nor told who would pay for the wolves’ maintenance and damage.  Therefore no Local communities or Counties had any say in their role of hosting any and all wolves.

–       State wildlife agencies’ corruption and collusion in the entire affair from start to finish was exposed since they never even requested that Congress replace the stolen state wildlife program funds.

–       Unbeknownst to those passing Acts like the ESA and Wilderness Act, the concept of “Native Species” and “Native Ecosystem” have become recurring words in the federal regulatory lexicon.  That is a smokescreen for all manner of mischief and it will be all over bureaucrat and court demands of “State” wolf management.  Why do wolves or grizzly bears or bison “belong somewhere they were centuries ago?  Think about that.  Do bison “belong” once again in the fall-plowed fields of western Minnesota?  Do grizzly bears “belong” in Spokane suburbs?  Do wolves “belong” in the settled landscapes of The Lower 48 States, or on Isle Royale National Park for that matter?  What is a “Wilderness” or a Marine “Sanctuary” other than an expanding acreage of unused and unmanaged land that is not even a model of what it can increase dramatically like fires or a control-site for applied research to resolve management and use of similar natural resources?  That these terms and concepts have seeped into federal environmental operations is worrisome.  The terms and concepts should be eliminated from the governmental while being put back into applied biology and history books for serious references as to where we have been and where we are headed.

–       Because traditional funding sources from hunting licenses and permits have declined due to wolf predation on game species; and because wolf issues diverted more and more funding to lawsuits, surveys, political justification research, public media campaigns and indoctrination of children – state wildlife agency employment became more precarious and dependent on blind instructions and obfuscated explanations of the effect of wolves. Agency goals shifted 180 degrees from the management and use of renewable natural resources for human benefit to the suppression and elimination of human welfare for imaginary benefit of an imaginary environment and animals given the status of human citizens that had become a blight on the land.

Would you trust these bureaucrats to babysit your kids with a record like this?

Some facts about the “Recovery of the Gray Wolf and Proposed Rule to Delist the Species” in the three states indicate what lies ahead.  It took about 5 years for all three states to wade through radical lawsuits and recalcitrant federal bureaucrats to obtain what federal lawmakers in Congress “gave” them – not because of any “Recovery” or concern about rural America – due only to simple political pressure that the more conservative residents of those three states were insisting on.  Minnesota, a more liberal and ideological “environmental” state was supposed to get the gift with those three states but due to their political reluctance to offend the urban centers that run the state (like Chicago runs Illinois), Minnesota was dropped from the list when the backlash became too hot.  Since the three states have had wolf “management authority” “returned” (considering they had claimed no resident wolves for 50 years and then federal control was imposed with forcibly inserted wolves; “returned” is a strange word about something you never wanted and had exterminated at great expense over a long period) their experience is worth noting.

–       Initial sale of wolf licenses and the increase in wolf revenue is wearing off.  Wolves are hard to find and “sport kill” are less than hoped for (to say the least).  The novelty of purchasing a wolf license is best shown by a powerful federal legislator that when I was introduced to him he smiled, dug out his wallet to show me his wolf hunting license.  I wonder if he still has one and if he ever got a wolf?

–       Federal estimates of 5,000 wolves in the Lower 48 States is a low ball number; the numbers are closer to 8,000.  Think about how many wolves you would have to kill annually to just keep the populations steady (it doesn’t really work this accurately in good old Mother Nature but humor me).  At a minimum it would take in the neighborhood of 2,000 wolves throughout the range of the wolves.  One of the states got 43 wolves, another got about 35 last year.  In other words, “managing” wolves is a farce.  Between federal bureaucrats hiding until a change of Administration and state bureaucrats using the wildlife new math of lowballing some estimates and highballing other “estimates” there will be no numbers resolutions when radical lawsuits hit state managers.

–       In the meantime, livestock depredations will increase or at best stay steady with compensation being something no state can long support.  Big Game numbers will also continue to decline as the same number of wolves will need to eat and if ranchers and dog owners can shoot (or at) threatening wolves it does not take a rocket scientist to expect ever heavier predation on elk, moose and deer.

–       To foresee a recovery of big game or a reduction in livestock depredation, the number of wolves in the neighborhood would have to be reduced 40 to 70% and kept there, ad infinitum!  Anyone telling you that ANY state can or would even envision such a scheme, given the continued existence of the ESA and the now accepted precedent that any wolf anywhere has been “recovered” so a drastic reduction in wolves would be perceived as extermination and it would provoke a federal National Emergency (under the next President to be sure) and possibly the use of federal troops like Ike sent into Alabama.

–       Dense wolf populations where they currently exist are and will continue to cause expansion into outlying areas and states, as well as suburban and in some cases urban environments.  Since wolves are so difficult to control, the increasing costs of wolf control will quickly exceed the revenue pittance they will soon bring in.  Hello, state tax increases.

–       Increasing the annual take of wolves by revenue-producing (i.e. affordable) means and private citizens in every state desiring to do so involves innovation and constant change as the ability of wolves to avoid danger goes on display.  Pack animals learn quickly as a trap goes off or a bullet hits one as they come to some sort of bait.  States and the federal government will not allow this innovation: states because of fear of federal bureaucrats and the federal bureaucrats because they work essentially for radical causes and their career success depends on radical favor. Aerial hunting (periodically necessary in Alaska and Siberia) will be found “Unfair” and a violation of the Airborne Hunting Act.  Fur sale and import/export will be attacked and its use or display will be discouraged by socialists and the politicians seeking votes in the next election.  M-44’s and deadfalls will be prohibited.  Upland, bear and cougar hunting (especially rabbit hounds, bird dogs, bear hounds, etc.) will continue to emit their last screams as their owners struggle to get to the site where wolves have bush-wacked them.  Placement regulation of baits, traps or other devices will be designed to make them ineffective. Breeding and use of wolfhounds that were bred and used in Ireland to eliminate the last wolves on that island centuries ago will be forbidden.  As will the sale of expensive guided chases made available to wealthy sportsmen interested in a unique and effective chase.  Private property, especially owned by non-resident urban wealthy folks, parks and other non-hunting public lands will be closed to “management” controls of predators, especially wolves.  Unless the State is willing to impose forcible access (as some Counties do for thistle control) to known wolf denning or other such wolf habitats for controls like denning and aerial hunting, the limited access to control operations will be very discouraging when outlined on a map. Wolves will learn these areas before the “experts will even admit their role in protecting wolves. This is only a short rundown of the problems facing anyone thinking they will reduce depredations, predation and dangers from wolves once “management is returned” to their state.

–       The only possible beneficiaries of states financing this expanding federal debacle will be the occasional (too frequent instances will require those harmed to change their lifestyle) rancher or dog owner or parent that will be able to kill a wolf in the pasture or yard where family members are present.  State enforcers and prosecutors will be more lenient in most states than their federal counterparts and the penalties will, or should be, lessened after federal control is abandoned.

–       Any thoughts of large reductions in wolf densities to protect property like cattle, sheep or dogs; or to allow large ungulates to recover and maintain hunt-able populations are pipedreams.

In conclusion, this “Recovery”, “Delisting” and “Returning Wolf Management to the States” are like prescribing an opioid to kill pain while the underlying malady increases the inevitable likelihood of a very bad outcome.  The phony “Recovery” levels are now established and the States must pay to keep them there.

Lest you think I am only whining here: chew on this.

The only path I see to be a valid solution to this growing problem is:

1.    Amend or Repeal the Endangered Species Act.

2.    If amended, it MUST REQUIRE any Federal Action in any State of the United States to:

A.   Be described in a 10 Year Proposal that specifically describes the reason for the proposal, the proposed federal expenditures and actions required, and any expected ancillary effects of the proposed action to save and or protect a Species (and no lesser biological entity) determined to be Endangered.

B.   Such Proposal shall be submitted to the Governor of the affected State for his review and written concurrence or rejection.  The federal agency should fund a public meeting in the Capital of the State, if so desired by the Governor, before he decides on the Proposal.

C.   Such Proposal, if approved by the Governor should be opened to the public in two Public meetings in the affected state and the findings of those meetings shall be attached to the Proposal and submitted in the Annual Federal Budget for Congressional Review, Approval and Authorization.

D.   Any work needed beyond 10-years would require a New Proposal and a repeat of the above process.

Rural communities should have a strong say in what sort of environment they live in.  Ultimately, in a just system of governance the basic framework and what constitutes a just environment should be decided by Local government.  Local governments should be protected and honored by State governments.  State governments should be protected and nourished by the federal government.  In other words, if the Local community wants NO WOLVES, that should be it, no matter what state or far-off federal politicians say or do on behalf of urban voters or those that covet control of rural landscapes.  This will never be renewed (yes it once existed to the great “domestic Tranquility” joy of rural people) as long as states are bound and threatened by federal overseers beholden to unaffected voters with no dog in the fight. “Returning Wolf Management” should be treated like Clint Eastwood’s infamous observation to his political boss who screamed in his face asking, what do you think?” to which Harry (Eastwood) simply snarled, “Your breath mints ain’t cutting it”.  It is only designed to give everyone dreams while things fall apart.

For these reasons and more I do not regret I will not be able to attend the celebration of the “Return of Wolf Management to the States”.  My wife and I play cribbage on that evening of the week.

Jim Beers

16 March 2019

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.netIf you no longer wish to receive these articles notify:  jimbeers7@comcast.net

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The Rotten, Cheating Government and Their GI Wolves

Because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is a division of the Department of Interior (DOI) and is a government entity, there’s no need to mince word but to cut straight to the chase. They are a bunch of crooked, lying, cheating, stealing, evil, rotten bastards that don’t deserve the time of day. But we give it to them anyway. Go figure.

The lying, evil bastards stole money, cheated, lied, gamed the system, broke their own laws they will enforce against citizens, and dumped diseased wolves throughout the United States – Northern Rockies, Southwest, Southeast (many of these wolves hybrid semi-wild mutts paraded as pure wolves) and even Isle Royale (all done illegally), and now, after contaminating the land with disease and inflicting millions of dollars in losses to private property, these worthless bastards want to walk away from responsibility and force the states and tribes to pay for their Valentine’s Day Massacre-like escapade, while at the same time tolerating wolves and “learning to coexist” with them.

I say, take your wolves and shove em!! In case you can’t tell (politicians are incapable of any sort of perception toward their CONstituancy. They are not even human.) I’m a little bit mad and very disgusted with government and those who enable the cheating bastards by going along with their house of cards con games, i.e. turning “management” over to the states.

We know these criminal sons-a-bitches play games like this in order to pave the way for their PALS at selected Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to pad their coffers by filing lawsuits. It’s a no brainer if you have one at all. The USFWS/DOI go public with their proposals and within hours the environmental NGOs lick their chops and move in for the money kill. Then the case is tied up in court while hand-selected fascist judges rule to stop the delisting process. The rigged system, complete with crooked, brainwashed judges, provides millions of dollars for the NGOs to continue their criminal enterprises and in the meantime the business of wolf destruction remains intact.

It’s bad enough that the USFWS/DOI is either so damned crooked they are emboldened so deeply they don’t give a hoot anymore or they know exactly what they are doing. Regardless, it’s a direct kick, right between the legs, when ignorant “anti-wolf” groups think they’ve won a battle because the Feds have placed the cost and responsibility for their terrorist act in the laps of the very people whose backside they had the wolf shoved up in the first place. Can’t you see this?

This is typical government BS and you keep voting for these criminal bastards who never change.

WHY DO YOU INSIST ON REMAINING INSANE?

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SCI Says, Wolf De-Listing Bill a Win for Hunters

A Press Release from the Safari Club International:

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a bill that returns wolf management to states and is a step toward fixing flaws in the Endangered Species Act – something Safari Club International, on behalf of all hunters, has championed for years.
H.R. 6784, the Manage Our Wolves Act, was introduced in September by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI).  The bill was approved 196-180 and secured bipartisan support from nine Democrats and 187 Republicans.
Passage of the Manage Our Wolves Act will return management of the Western Great Lakes gray wolf population to the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The bill will also ensure that Wyoming’s gray wolf management remains under state authority and will direct the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to delist the remaining gray wolves of the lower 48 states, with the exception of Mexican wolves.
SCI President Paul Babaz was quick to praise the win on the House floor.
“First, thanks to Rep. Sean Duffy and so many other supportive Members of Congress for highlighting the critical need to recognize that recovery must lead to de-listing,” SCI President Babaz said.  “Second, this is a tremendous victory for hunters, wildlife conservation in general, and State wildlife managers.  All of them have played significant roles recovering gray wolf populations.”
While wolf recovery successes have been continually thwarted or ignored by courts acting on the many ambiguities or flaws in the wording of the ESA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service states on its website: “the gray wolf has rebounded from the brink of extinction to exceed population targets by as much as 300 percent.  Today, there are estimated to be 5,691 gray wolves in the contiguous United States.  Wolf numbers continue to be robust, stable and self-sustaining.”
The recovery of the gray wolf is a success story and H.R. 6784 will help correctly transfer their management to the professionals at the state wildlife management agencies—the primary managers of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources.
“I’m very proud SCI has been a leader in ESA litigation efforts over so many years to help support wolf delisting,” SCI President Babaz added.  “Today’s win in Congress is an opportunity for federal legislators to clear away ESA’s roadblocks and enact laws to recognize easily documentable recovery efforts and restore State wildlife management authority.”
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Marbled Murrelets

By James Beers

I recently received the following email request and attached paper on Marbled Murrelets, a seabird that occurs along the NW US coast Northward to the Alaskan Peninsula and the Eastern edge of the Aleutian Islands.

Marbled Murrelets are neither migratory nor colonial nesters but generally remain resident in the coastal waters frequented by their parents.  Their nesting habits remained a mystery for over a century and what little is known about that reveals a bird that nests on the ground or in tree tops far inland and on bare rocks near the coast.  In many localities they are the most abundant seabird.  Despite the paucity of such information or of comparable reliable counts over a vast water area of solitary birds or nesting birds that disappear periodically annually for all practical purposes and while frequenting the waters of their parents came and go over large water spaces – the Marbled Murrelet is Federally listed under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species in Washington, Oregon and California, and State-listed as endangered in California and as threatened in Oregon and Washington.

Why, you might be asking yourself if you live in Arizona, Minnesota or South Carolina should I be concerned about this bird?  The answer is that this small bird about which little is known can be, and is, claimed to be in trees (that cannot then be cut over vast swaths) in woodlands far from the coasts but all over a vast area (how do you deny or disprove a government declaration that your property or the government holding nearby is said to be “important” to this bird?)  How can you question the “trend” in this bird’s population when there is no definitive data?  How can you show the government has invented or expanded questionable data (or no data)?  What can a fair person divine from actual historical data about what certain lands were like before Columbus and thereby get a notion of this bird’s historic status and abundance as required by the ESA?

In other words, the Marbled Murrelet is a quintessential example of the overreach of the ESA and the misuse of wildlife “science” for hidden agendas and significant societal changes far beyond a discussion of a fascinating seabird that most folks living near or vacationing near Marbled Murrelet habitat neither see nor look for.  It is not ironic, but a fact, that the less that is known about any species the more power the government can exert and the less power the individual or community has in the process they must endure, and the broader the claimed implications of and need for government intervention will be.

The following consists of three (short) parts:

  1. Dr. Zybach’s email to me about his paper.
  2. The paper – an attachment you can open.
  3. My response to Dr. Zybach.

 

  1. Dr Zybach’s email

Jim:

I am very curious about what you think of the attached article draft. Supposed to be published in early October, but please feel free to share with your readers or others you feel may have an opinion on this.

Keep up the good work!

Bob Zybach

  1. The paper– [follows below]

  1. 3.My response

Bob,

While living in the middle Aleutians for almost two years (1965-’66) as a Naval Courier Officer with little supervision I was fascinated with many things, not least of which was walking beaches and climbing rocky outcropping looking at and learning about seabirds like puffins, murres, guillemots and murrelets, not to say killer whales, seals, etc.  I remember looking for and finding Ancient’ and Kittlitzes’ Murrelets while looking for but never finding Marbled Murrelets.

In my readings in those days I was impressed by the nesting mystery about Marbled Murrelets.  It reminded me as an old duck hunter of how up to the early 1900’s the nesting grounds of Black Brant was a mystery of the “Far North”.  Years later I was told by a jokester that 1500 years ago the nesting grounds of the Barnacle goose (mainly Greenland) was unknown but the birds received the name “Barnacle” geese when they wintered in Ireland and Scotland from Catholic priests that assumed (or made up) that they actually arose from barnacles in the sea and only returned to land in the fall and winter.  I was then asked if I knew what was so significant about that name?  When I said, I didn’t know, he told me that, “since they arose from barnacles they were seafood and therefore could be eaten on Friday”.

When I first saw this business about “Listing” Marbled Murrelets I smelled a Rattus norvegicus.  The Marbled Murrelets are not colonial nesters and they were spread out in real estate coveted by the federal bureaucrats and their environmentalist gangs.  Reading your paper and noting the lack of or inability to establish even any tree-nesting preferences and then to make WAGS about populations or their trends; claiming to see a “trend” is specious and merely propaganda to say the least.  To read that in SE Alaska they nest on bare rocks is hilarious considering they also nest to the top of high conifers (and what in between?) and then establish population levels and trends based on the “word” of do-gooders with an agenda from eliminating private property (think spotted owls) to reducing all the land outside the cities into government collective management units (think planted GI government-issued wolves, grizzlies, buffalo, etc.) like the old Soviet Union.

I am grateful that you took the time and effort to stress the variety and history of plant communities supporting murrelet nesting from the “pristine”, “virgin”, “untouched” fantasies of native American burning, disturbance, and plant succession to European settlement logging and grazing down to the destruction of logging and ranches by modern environmentalists thus creating the catastrophic and immensely costly forest fires of today.  The more that appears in print, the greater the chance of brainwashed environmental munchkins questioning the apparent differences all around them between grazing/logging condemnation; eliminating hunting; introducing and protecting  large predators; the imaginary propaganda fantasies they are taught in school about “native ecosystems”; the “benign” nature of deadly, dangerous and destructive predators – and the freedoms, prosperity and benefits of an environment composed of wildlife to strong families harmonized by renewable natural resource management by the people that live there.  These government bureaucrats and their cronies are the exact opposite of those mythical Catholic priests of long ago who contrived a “scientific name” for a good purpose – to allow poor families to enjoy some meat while it was available.  They name, rename (think Killer Whale to Orca or Old Squaw to “long-tailed duck) and invent “science” to take away the rights and freedoms of those same people for no more than their own benefit.

“Listing” these “Australian bumble bees” (an old name for Marbled Murrelets I remember once reading) is an even worse example of the perfidy of selective and wish-based “science” used to manipulate the nation and selectively eliminate our culture, traditions and rights for much broader hidden agendas than I imagined all those years ago while toiling away in the “vineyards of Washington” in ways I have come to understand and regret as I age.  Thanks for making the effort to describe it so well and so succinctly…

Jim Beers

24 September 2018 

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

If you no longer wish to receive these articles notify:  jimbeers7@comcast.net

 

Oregon Coast Range Old-Growth: Part III. Marbled Murrelet Habitat

September 20, 2018 DRAFT Dr. Bob Zybach

Marbled murrelets are relatively small seabirds that can fly 60 or 90 miles an hour when traveling, but spend most of their time floating in the ocean and diving for small fish and shrimp. Their population extends from southern Alaska, where they lay their eggs on shoreline rocks, to Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California, where they have been documented nesting in the upper reaches of old-growth conifer trees.

These birds are important because they have had a profound impact on rural Oregon Coast Range forests, economics, infrastructure, wildfire risks, recreational opportunities, wildlife populations, and aesthetics during the past 25 years.

Marbled murrelets are in the auk family and very closely related to long-billed murrelets and to Kittlitz’s murrelets. In fact, until 1998 long-billed murrelets were considered to be the same species as their marbled cousins. Kittlitz’s murrelets tend to live in Alaska and Siberia and long-billed murrelets are found in Korea and Japan, although members of this species have also been recorded in the south and along the east coast in the US, and in Europe.

Murrelets are opportunistic nesters throughout their range, including rocks, bare ground near snowfields, shrublands, and forested areas of varying size, density, and age. They lay one egg at a time, typically within 30 miles of the ocean shore, and feed their young once or twice a day, usually a small fish at a time. Juveniles are strong enough to fly about four weeks after hatching, at which time they head directly to sea. There is no evidence that the birds use the same nest more than once.

It was estimated in 1992 by Steven Speich, a recognized expert in Pacific coast seabird biology, that less than one percent of all North American marbled murrelets nest in California; less than one percent in Oregon; and “perhaps” two percent in Washington; “compared to about 13% in British Columbia and 84% in Alaska.”

During that same year, on September 22, 1992, the marbled murrelet was declared a legally “threatened” species in Oregon, Washington, and California (but not Canada or Alaska) by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Clearcut logging on coastal

 Map 1. Oregon Coast Range Indian Tribes and Nations, ca. 1770. Common spellings, language classifications, and geographical boundaries are currently being updated and revised.

Table 1.  Oregon Coast Range languages, tribes, rivers, cities, and counties, 1770-1893. Tribe Language River City County North         Clowwewalla Chinookan Willamette Oregon City Clackamas Multnomah Chinookan Willamette Portland Multnomah Skilloot Chinookan Columbia Ranier Columbia Kathlamet Chinookan Columbia Knappa Clatsop Clatsop Chinookan Youngs Astoria Clatsop Klaskani Athapaskan Clatskanie Clatskanie Columbia  Nehalem Salish Nehalem Nehalem Tillamook East         Atfalati Kalapuyan Tualatin Tualatin Washington Yamel Kalapuyan Yamhill Yamhill Yamhill Luckiamute Kalapuyan Luckiamute Dallas Polk Chepenafa Kalapuyan Marys Corvallis Benton Chelamela Kalapuyan Long Tom Monroe Benton Calapooia Kalapuyan Willamette Eugene Lane West         Killamox Salish Tillamook Tillamook Tillamook Nestucca Salish Nestucca Pacific City Tillamook Nechesne Salish Salmon Rose Lodge Lincoln Siletz Salish Siletz Siletz Lincoln Yakona Yakonan Yaquina Newport Lincoln Alsi Yakonan Alsea Waldport Lincoln Siuslaw Yakonan Siuslaw Florence Lane South         Ayankeld Kalapuyan Umpqua Yoncalla Douglas Kelawatset Yakonan Umpqua Reedsport Douglas Hanis Kusan Coos Coos Bay Coos Miluk Kusan Coquille Bandon Coos Mishikwutmetunne Athapaskan Coquille Coquille Coos

Douglas fir forests was promoted as a principal cause of a claimed reduction in these populations despite any concrete evidence that it has, or can, cause such effects. And despite any baseline data to demonstrate that bird populations were actually being reduced: only some very suspect “assumptions” and questionable arithmetic.

In 2012 the Center for Biological Diversity, Portland Audubon Society, and Cacscadia Wildlands sued Oregon Department of Forestry officials regarding the “take” of marbled murrelet habitat on State of Oregon forestlands. The regional forest industry, the national carpenters’ union, and Douglas County essentially counter-sued, saying that the US Fish & Wildlife “science” behind the listing of the bird and its “critical habitat” was biased and inconclusive.

This latter suit was dismissed without a hearing in 2013; the former ended in a 2014 “sue and settle” decision in which the environmental organizations and their lawyers were given a significant amount of money and the State agreed to halt logging on 28 different locations in rural western Oregon.

In addition to lawyer fees and court-ordered payments, the principal costs associated with these rulings were the loss of hundreds or thousands of tax-paying blue-collar jobs in rural Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Coos, and Douglas Counties, and the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in timber revenues to those counties and to the Oregon Common School Fund. There is no measurement as to whether these legal rulings have had any effect on marbled murrelet populations, but there is little reason or evidence to indicate they have.

A 2016 report by the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station concerning marbled murrelet population trends for the 1994-2013 study period showed an estimated population of 20,000 birds in 2013. That number represented an apparent decline of 4.6% in numbers for the State of Washington and no discernable change in Oregon and California populations for the 20-year period.

Background

I first heard of marbled murrelets in October, 1988, when I received a handwritten letter from an Oregon State University graduate student, Kim Nelson, who was finishing up her Master’s degree in “cavity nesting birds” and was also working under contract with the Siuslaw National Forest doing marbled murrelet surveys. She had heard that I knew a significant amount about Coast Range forest and fire history and asked if I could provide her with information in that regard. Which I did.

The information was apparently ignored. I provided Nelson with maps, eyewitness accounts, and photographic documentation showing the Siuslaw – in common with the remainder of the Coast Range – is a highly dynamic forest. It was created in 1908 in the foot print of 1849 and 1868 catastrophic wildfires (the “Yaquina Burn”) and had always had a history of floods, landslides, earthquakes, windstorms, and a significant human population that used fire and large wood products on a daily basis (see Map 1; Table 1; Figures 1-4).

Instead, in September 1991 Nelson wrote to Russell Peterson of the US Fish & Wildlife Service in support of listing the marbled murrelet as “threatened” in the State of Oregon because:

               Figure 1. Native People of the Oregon Coast Range, 1841-1885. Upper Left: Two “Salish women,” possibly Tillamooks, on a “trading trip”; Upper Right: Tattooed Chinook woman with a child in a “cradleboard” designed to flatten its head, drawn by George Catlin near Portland, Oregon, ca. 1861; Lower Left: Yakona Indians in Christian clothing and traditional headdresses and tattoos, Yaquina Bay, ca. 1877; Lower Right: Kalapuyan man near present-day Monroe, Oregon, drawn by Alfred Agate in 1841.

“Logging since the 1800’s has eliminated most of the mature and oldgrowth forests (suitable murrelet habitat) in western Oregon. Current estimates indicate a 60-90% decline in the forest types. Assuming that the murrelets were evenly distributed in the state in relationship to the distribution of suitable habitat, the population has been reduced 6090% and the species distribution is now limited to isolated areas along the Oregon Coast.”

The key phrase here, in addition to “suitable habitat,” is the statement, “assuming that the murrelets were evenly distributed . . .” Given the detailed maps and documentary evidence that had been provided to her, why and how had Nelson

               Figure 2. Precontact large-wood products. Upper Right: Traditional Kelawatset (“Quuiich”) cedar plank house photographed by an Army officer near mouth of Umpqua River in 1858; Upper Right: Drawing of a similar plank house near the same location, published by Harper’s Magazine, also in 1858; Lower Left: Large sea-going trade canoe found near mouth of the Salmon River in Lincoln County; Lower Right: Interior of typical Chinookan lodge along the Columbia River, drawn by Alfred Agate in 1841.

come up with this obvious deception? Where did this “assumption” come from?  Tying it to an equally fabricated Coast Range logging history (“60-90%” of the landscape, apparently) and a simplistic arithmetical equation – including an assumed and highly unlikely 1:1 correlation between her determination of “suitable habitat” and actual bird populations — has somehow become the basis of several “successful” anti-logging legal actions that have taken place in western Oregon ever since.

In 1992, leading up to the September listing of marbled murrelets as “threatened,” Nelson was lead author of a paper titled “The Marbled Murrelet in Oregon, 18991987,” in which only seven “potential [not “actual”] nesting areas” were identified in western Oregon, the small number apparently due to “current timber management practices”:

“Potential nesting areas were located in Douglas-fir (n = 6) and Sitka spruce (n = 1) forests greater than 100 years in age. The loss of mature and old-growth nesting habitat through current timber management practices must be considered a threat to populations of Marbled Murrelets in Oregon.”

Nelson’s 1991 letter concludes with warnings of a “potential extreme decline” in murrelet numbers if “all future plans for logging” on state, federal, and private lands weren’t immediately curtailed in favor of creating more “suitable habitat”:

“Listing the murrelet as endangered (or threatened) would ensure that all future plans for logging in suitable habitat (individual sales and cumulative impacts) will be scrutinized for impacts on murrelet populations . . . Timing is of the essence given the rates of habitat loss in western Oregon and the potential extreme declines in murrelet populations.”

Forest “Habitat” History

The relationship of Coast Range Indian burning practices to wildlife habitat -especially habitat for such food animals as birds, ungulates, rabbits, and squirrels -was first noted by Robert Haswell as he sailed along the southern Oregon Coast near Coos Bay in August, 1788:

“. . . this Countrey must be thickly inhabited by the many fiers we saw in the night and culloms of smoak we would see in the day time but I think they can derive but little of there subsistance from the sea but to compenciate for this the land was beautyfully diversified with forists and green veredent launs which must give shelter and forage to vast numbers of wild beasts”

During early historical time there were at least eight major and distinct languages spoken in the Oregon Coast Range and at least 26 distinct tribes. Map 1 shows the general location of these peoples, and Table 1 shows the locations in terms of modern political divisions and populations. Figures 1 and 2 depict a few of these individuals and their respective uses of large-wood products typically harvested from local forest environments. Rivers flowing from upland forests and ocean currents were also sources of large logs.

               Figure 3. Drawing of Toledo, Oregon, landscape, looking eastward toward Marys Peak, 1885.

Human families have lived in the historical range of marbled murrelets for more than 10,000 years.  The use of fire by these families for heating, cooking, hunting, recreation, vegetation management, and other purposes produced an environment dominated by fire-dependent and fire-tolerant plant and animal species. Identifiable patterns of these plants existed across most of the landscape at the time of white settlement. Accurate physical reconstructions of historical Coast Range vegetation patterns (“habitat”) require the presence of people and expert daily and seasonal uses of fire.

Based on documentary evidence, it can be shown that the landscape of the historical range of the marbled murrelet at the time of white occupation was primarily made of shifting patterns of even-aged stands of conifers –some young, some old — (mostly Douglas fir) bounded by prairies, ridgeline trails, oak savannahs, the Columbia River, and Pacific Ocean. Islands of even-aged conifers, groves of oak, meadows, ponds, balds, brakes, and berry patches further defined the environment, much of which was virtually free of underbrush, ladder fuels, coarse woody debris, snags, and other characteristics that became common to many post-1900 Pacific Northwest forests.

               Figure 4. Elkhorn Ranch, in heart of present-day Elliott State Forest, winter ca. 1894.   Warren Vaughn was a pioneer white settler along Tillamook Bay in the early 1850s, where he observed in the 1880s:

“At that time, there was not a bush or tree to be seen on all those hills, for the Indians kept it burned over every spring, but when the whites came, they stopped the fires for it destroyed the grass, and then the young spruces sprang up and grew as we now see them.”

In addition to considering the effects of thousands of people and their daily uses of fire and firewood over thousands of years, current marbled murrelet habitat has experienced some of the largest and most violent catastrophic wildfires in US history: the Yaquina (Figure 3), the Nestucca, the Coos (Figure 4), and the 6-Year Jinx Tillamook Fires of 1849, 1868, 1902, 1910, 1933, 1939, 1945, and 1951. These fires killed hundreds of thousands of acres of even-aged large, small, and old-growth Douglas fir at a time.

What effect did these vast – and sudden — “clearcuts” have on Oregon’s murrelet population? Compared to logging history? Did murrelets adapt to historical Indian burning practices, or did they migrate here after the burning was stopped?

Conclusions and Recommendations

Marbled murrelets live mostly in the ocean, have proven to be very adaptive nesters, and can fly extremely fast. “Trees die and birds fly” – to say that millions of acres of contiguous “old-growth” Douglas fir forestland is needed to “protect” these birds seems to defy both reason and common sense:

The “science” process that directly resulted in the US Fish and Wildlife Service declaring marbled murrelets as “threatened” was apparently biased against logging and active forest management from the outset. Likewise, efforts to locate nests were also biased toward “natural” old-growth conifer stands (“occupied sites were not always located in an unbiased manner”). This is not the “best” science.

Data used to promote the “critical decline” narrative regarding marbled murrelet populations was superficial, based on provably false assumptions, and dependent on questionable arithmetic to derive the “critically threatened” claims.

Native bird populations on the Oregon Coast Range must have adapted to constant disturbances by people and by occasional catastrophic forest fires and windstorms over time, or else they may have migrated to this area in recent centuries. Both possibilities should be considered.

Marbled murrelets do not seem to be threatened or endangered at this time. There is no real evidence that their populations are in “sharp decline” or that logging is/was responsible, even if they are. Rather, it appears the California, Washington, and Oregon murrelets are near the edge of their range, much as the lands in northern Canada and Alaska are sparsely populated by people. Conversely, most murrelets prefer Canada, Alaska, and Asia, where they have robust populations – rather than the “lower 48,” where they exist in apparently stable, much smaller, numbers.

In sum, if the federal government is going to continue to dictate how forests are managed in Oregon – and particularly in regard to select plant or animal species – it is important they begin with comprehensive historical information rather than inaccurate assumptions, bias, and deceptive math for planning purposes.

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RMEF, SAF Oppose Yellowstone Grizzly Ruling

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation disagree with a judge’s decision to vacate the delisting of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly population by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The ruling places the population back on the endangered species list.
“We are highly disappointed with this decision,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Once again we see that extreme environmental groups continue to clog up the delisting process at a time when we should be celebrating the recovery of grizzlies in the region. Scientists gathered data and population numbers that show grizzlies in the region surpassed all recovery criteria and are recovered. This ruling bolsters the case for Congress to update the Endangered Species Act.”
This follows a 2007 decision by the Department of Interior (DOI) to delist Yellowstone grizzlies, a decision that was also litigated by environmental groups and overturned by the federal courts.
“Despite this ruling, the basic facts remain the same: grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area have recovered, and no longer meet the definition of threatened or endangered under the ESA and should be rightfully returned to state management,” said Evan Heusinkveld, Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation president and CEO. “This ruling is just another example of why we need comprehensive reforms to the way we manage ESA-listed species in this country. We are evaluating all of our legal options to appeal this ruling.”
The DOI announced the removal of Yellowstone area grizzlies, numbering more than 700, from the endangered species list in 2017 based on sound science and millions of hunter dollars spent on researching and studying the bears. Idaho and Wyoming later announced intentions to hold conservative management hunts in the fall of 2018. Those hunts will not take place.
Environmental groups claimed the grizzly population in the Yellowstone region would be decimated if delisted and placed under state management. They made the same claims for the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population which is 200 to 400 percent above minimum recovery goals, depending on the state.
“State-based management of wildlife is a key facet of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model. That is why the most healthy and robust wildlife populations in the world are found in North America. Grizzlies, like elk, wolves, deer and all other wildlife, should be managed by the states for their overall betterment. This ruling thoroughly frustrates that process,” added Weaver.
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Restraining Order Issued to Stop Grizzly Bear Hunts

A very biased report on the actions of a judge in Montana who issued a temporary restraining order to stop a grizzly bear hunt:

“A federal judge in Montana on Thursday issued a court order temporarily blocking the first trophy hunts of Yellowstone-area grizzly bears in more than 40 years, siding with native American groups and environmentalists seeking to restore the animals’ protected status.

The 14-day restraining order by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula, Montana, came two days before Wyoming and Idaho were scheduled to open licensed grizzly hunts allowing as many as 23 bears in the two states to be shot and killed for sport.”<<<Read More>>>

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Judge Blocks the Killing of Members of Pack of Washington Wolves

As is ALWAYS the case, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order to stop the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from removing some or all of the members of a wolf pack habituated to killing livestock in eastern Washington. The Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands immediately sued once they heard of WDFW’s intentions.

According to reports, Washington has “a minimum of 122 wolves in 22 packs, with 14 successful breeding pairs.” This is a far cry from any endangerment to the species. In addition, the actions of the pack of wolves in depredating on livestock meet all the requirements for lethal removal.

But what is most sad is that wolves have NEVER been endangered. All that exists are a group of selfish, misled, and perverted people who want wolves in everyone’s backyard. Wolves do not belong in human-settled landscapes for the very reasons that WDFW decided it was time that something is done to stop this pack from destroying livestock. There should be no reason whatsoever that any property owner has to sacrifice his or her property for the protection of any animal.

In addition, while the intentions of WDFW and other wildlife managers are mostly good, you cannot accomplish the stoppage of livestock depredation by culling only one or some of any pack. It’s a pack activity and unless all members are taken out, depredations will continue. That’s a fact whether we like it or not. It’s a matter of where the importance lies – protecting animals or taking away a person’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Wars have been fought over one nation wishing to take away property and rights from another.

Judges are owned by environmental groups who are owned by the government. That’s why none of this makes any sense.

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RMEF, Sportsmen’s Alliance File Brief in Support of Yellowstone Grizzly Management

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation filed a joint summary judgement brief supporting a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to remove federal protections from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear population.

“We stand alongside the Sportsmen’s Alliance and our fellow conservation organizations in supporting federal scientists and wildlife biologists who declared the grizzly population fully recovered,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “The next step is keeping grizzly management under the umbrella of state agencies that manage all wildlife in accordance with the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, which uses hunting as a management tool.”

“Despite the emotional rhetoric of the animal rights crowd, the time has come to return this population of bears to state management,” said Evan Heusinkveld, Sportsmen’s Alliance president and CEO. “The truth is, this is a historic moment for the species and the Endangered Species Act as a whole. Returning the Yellowstone area population of bears to state management should be a monumental achievement widely celebrated as a conservation success story.”

Numbering more than 700, the Yellowstone grizzly population meets all delisting criteria. These factors include not only the number and distribution of bears throughout the ecosystem, but also the quantity and quality of the habitat available and the states’ commitments to manage the population in a manner that maintains its healthy and secure status.

RMEF and its partners helped permanently protect more than 169,000 acres of vital wildlife habitat valued at more than $131 million in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Additionally, RMEF also directly contributed more than $3.1 million and leveraged an additional $17.5 million to help enhance wildlife habitat on more than 426,000 acres in the GYE. RMEF also contributed more than $1 million in funding and leveraged an additional $10 million from conservation partners to carry out 118 GYE wildlife management and wildlife research projects.

“These projects are crucial and helped to contribute to the understanding of wildlife populations, ecology and habitat needs, including increasing the understanding of grizzly bears and conserving the habitat needed for them to thrive in conjunction with all wildlife populations,” said Weaver. “Habitat needs to remain the focus of on-the-ground conservation work, not seemingly non-stop litigation.”

The federal judge laid out a schedule that includes several more filing deadlines as well as a hearing in late August. He has stated he will make a ruling before the hunting season begins in September.

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