Climate Ready Estuaries Partner Projects

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Map of the US, split into EPA regions that have Climate Ready Estuaries projects.

 Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee  Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington


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Region 1: CT, MA, ME, NH and RI

Buzzard Bay National Estuary Program

Environmental Justice Project on Sea Level Rise Impacts: 2012

The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management have jointly conducted a preliminary evaluation of sea level rise impacts to New Bedford Harbor. A hurricane barrier and dikes protect an environmental justice community, a heavily urbanized and industrial area, and a nationally important fishing fleet and seafood processing industry. Sea level rise with expected higher annual rainfalls and more intense storms, will appreciably impact the wastewater treatment, CSO system, and municipal stormwater networks of each harbor community. BBNEP has found that the hurricane barrier could have widespread failures from the 100-year storm event in conjunction with sea level rise. BBNEP, in partnership with MA CZM and the affected communities will evaluate these issues in detail and develop a long-term strategy for climate change adaptation. BBNEP will also collaborate with local partners to conduct a climate change adaptation workshop and incorporate the results of the evaluation study into training workshops for officials of the harbor communities.

Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: 2015

The objective is to create a broad, risk-based climate change vulnerability assessment and action plan for the Casco Bay Plan

Examining Strategies for Investing in Ecosystem Services in Casco Bay Tidal Wetlands: 2015

Tools from planning, economics, and ecology are available to bring some order to decision making under the combination of heightened uncertainty and secular change imposed on coastal ecosystems by climate change and other stressors. This project will focus on how climate change, sea level rise, and uncertainty  influence relative value of different strategies for investment in ecosystem services in Casco Bay tidal wetlands.

Climate Change in the Casco Bay Watershed: Past, Present and Future: 2009

Casco Bay Estuary Partnership developed a climate change stakeholder outreach plan that targets local decision makers and integrates consideration of ecosystem resilience into broader messages about climate change. These outreach and stakeholder engagement efforts will help inform the development of a climate change adaptation plan for the estuary.

Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership

Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Adaptation Analysis via COAST: 2011

The Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership are working in partnership with the New England Environmental Finance Center to evaluate the vulnerability of communities in their watersheds to sea level rise and storm surge through the COAST model (COastal Adaptation to Sea level rise Tool).

Massachusetts Bay Program

Blue Carbon, Green Eelgrass: 2015

This project will expand regional planning regarding blue carbon to include eelgrass restoration and protection. It will document eelgrass carbon sequestration, use sea level rise predictions to estimate eelgrass meadow changes, and inform local and state-level decisionmaking about blue carbon and eelgrass.

Vulnerability Assessment for the Coastal Zone: 2008

The Massachusetts Bays Program worked in partnership with EPA's Office of Research and Development to use expert elicitation as a methodology for identifying climate change-related risks.  In this pilot study, groups of experts focused on key ecosystem processes related to sediment retention in mudflats and salt marshes and resulting impacts on nesting habitat for salt marsh sparrows.  Results from this effort were published in February 2012 in the report, Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert Judgment, Volume II: Results for the Massachusetts Bays Program.

Narragansett Bay Estuary Program

Assessment of Climate Change Adaptation Measures for the Lower Pawtuxet River, Rhode Island: 2011

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program will analyze dams and other in-stream structures in the Pawtuxet River watershed for their vulnerability to climate change and flooding, and impacts on watershed restoration efforts.

Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership

The Oyster Culvert Analysis Project: 2008

The Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership launched a study to identify road culverts that are susceptible to failure in the face of increasingly severe storms and from hydrological modifications related to development in the watershed. PREP completed this study in March 2010 and published a report.

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Region 2: NY, NJ, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

Barnegat Bay Partnership

Sea Level Rise and Barnegat Bay’s Wetlands: A Look at Potential Impacts: 2015

This project will examine Barnegat Bay shorelines to identify potential areas of marsh migration and possible impacts to existing developed areas due to tidal inundation from sea level rise. Maps will display places where roads and other structures cross tidal wetlands, and identify areas as either being at risk of conflict between rising seas and existing development or as areas that can accommodate potential tidal wetland migration.

Support of Climate Change Workgroup Activities: Climate Change Technical Workshop: 2009

Barnegat Bay Partnership worked with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve to continue its climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning efforts by forming a climate change workgroup and holding a series of listening sessions to gain stakeholder support and identify opportunities for improving resilience through adaptation actions. NOAA's Coastal Services Magazine published an article in March/April 2010 describing their efforts.

Long Island Sound Study (Region 1 and Region 2)

Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan for Groton, Connecticut: 2009

In collaboration with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and the City of Groton, Connecticut, the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) is working to develop an adaptation plan for Groton by first holding a series of workshops to discuss local climate change vulnerability and options for improving resilience. The outcomes of these workshops informed the development of an adaptation planning report for the city. LISS hopes that this project will serve as a model for other local governments in the estuary that are seeking to develop adaptation plans.

Developing Climate Indicators to Help Inform Adaptation Planning Efforts: 2009

EPA is assisting the Long Island Sound Study in the development of a climate change vulnerability assessment, a preliminary set of climate change indicators, and monitoring recommendations. This project is helping to inform monitoring and adaptation planning efforts within the NEP, including the work under the startup grant described above.

Adaptation Resource Toolbox: 2012

The Long Island Sound Study is creating an adaptation toolkit for municipal governments to inform adaptation efforts and to follow up on recommendations stemming from previous Climate Ready Estuaries projects.

New York–New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: 2015

Create a broad, risk-based climate change vulnerability assessment that informs HEP’s 2016 -2020 Action Plan and upcoming CCMP revision.

Climate-ready Water Access: Assessing Opportunities for Climate Change Resilience at Our Public Access Sites: 2011

The New York–New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program will expand a vulnerability assessment protocol piloted by N.J. Sea Grant and others to identify public access points that are vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Joint CREAT Exercise: 2011

The New York–New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program has been working with EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities and the North Hudson (NJ) Sewerage Authority since early 2011 to evaluate potential impacts of climate change and to examine adaptation options for the sewerage authority. Sea level rise and flooding are issues of particular concern.

Peconic Estuary Program

Climate Vulnerability Assessment for the Peconic Estuary and Shinnecock Indian Nation: 2014

The Peconic Estuary Program and the Shinnecock Indian Nation will come together to work toward climate adaptation by assessing the climate change vulnerabilities of their highly overlapping environmental restoration and protection programs. Both organizations will work together to evaluate the impact of predictions on the environment and ecosytem services. Then, they will engage stakeholders to assess the effects of those impacts on current strategic plans, priorities, and long-term goals. These various impacts on organizational goals will be prioritized and opportunities for collaboration on actions will be sought. Working together, the two organizations will outline a process for developing action plans and identify areas appropriate for joint action planning.

Developing a Climate Ready Critical Lands Protection Strategy: 2012

As part of the creation of its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, the Peconic Estuary Program drafted a Critical Lands Protection Strategy which identifies priority parcels for protection or acquisition based on criteria related to habitat preservation and water quality protection.  PEP will use sea level rise predictions to re-evaluate its original prioritization strategy with regard to issues such as inundation and erosion, living shorelines and armoring, or wetlands migration.  This strategy update will lead to a new Critical Lands Protection Strategy that takes climate change into account.

San Juan Bay Estuary Program

Action Planning for Climate Change Risks to Estuary Water Quality and Habitat: 2014

The San Juan Bay Estuary Program's stakeholders and advisory committee members will use the vulnerability assessment that SJBEP created in an earlier CRE project to continue developing an adaptation plan for the organization's pollution control and estuary habitat goals. The highest risks to achieve these goals will be selected for more detailed analysis and the development of action plans.

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: 2012

The combination of unplanned coastal development with shoreline erosion, new invasive species, record high temperatures, flooding, more frequent storms, and dying coral reefs, is focusing attention on climate change in the San Juan Bay Estuary Program study area. SJBEP has been coordinating with scientists and engaging the general public about pressing concerns. The next step is a climate change vulnerability assessment. SJBEP will work with its partners to assess risks and evaluate potential adaptation strategies. The vulnerability assessment will provide an urgently needed blueprint for municipalities, community groups, and local government, as well as for federal agencies, to face the challenges climate change presents to Puerto Rico. The assessment will also provide a powerful tool for engaging communities in climate change discussions. 

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Region 3: DE, DC, MD, PA, VA and WV

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (Region 2 and Region 3)

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: 2015

To ensure that the revised CCMP is informed by a broad, risk-based vulnerability assessment

Using Living Shorelines to Protect Tidal Marsh Habitat as Sea Level Rises: 2011

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is examining best practices for a living shoreline approach to maintaining ecological quality in its tidal wetlands and watershed, and will develop a strategy for implementing demonstration projects, which evaluates various tactics, assesses impediments and obstacles to action, and recommends approaches for local projects.

Habitat Equivalency Analysis and the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model: 2009

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) is working with EPA in further quantifying and valuing the effects of climate change on the provisioning of ecosystem services in the Delaware Estuary. This work will aid PDE in developing an adaptation plan by providing information related to the vulnerability of various habitat types and ecosystem services, options for improving resilience, and additional considerations for estuarine restoration.

Three Case Studies in Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning: 2008

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) conducted vulnerability assessments and identified adaptation options for three key resources: drinking water, tidal wetlands, and bivalve shellfish. PDE published a report in May, 2010.

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Region 4: AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC and TN

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

Public Listening Sessions: Sea Level Rise and Population Growth in North Carolina: 2008

The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program held seven public listening sessions to discuss the combined impacts of sea level rise and population growth, and is developing an adaptation communication strategy for local policy makers.

Pilot Water Utility Climate Change Modeling: 2011

The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program is working with EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities to provide technical assistance to a local utility interested in assessing and implementing adaptation options for expected climate change impacts. Through the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Assessment Tool (CREAT), the project team will assess the utility’s short, medium, and long-term climate risks to its infrastructure and the surrounding natural environment.

Charlotte Harbor NEP 

Vulnerability Assessment for the City of Punta Gorda, Florida: 2008

Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) developed a vulnerability assessment/overview for its seven-county southwest Florida study area, and is working directly with the City of Punta Gorda to apply the vulnerability assessment, and develop adaptation options. CHNEP published a report in February, 2010.

Climate Change Indicators for the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program: 2009

Charlotte Harbor NEP is working with EPA in developing climate change indicators for the estuarine systems and a monitoring plan. This work contributes to the NEP's existing adaptation planning efforts. EPA is also providing assistance in creating model ordinances and other policy tools for climate change adaptation.

Development of Conceptual Ecological Models for Charlotte Harbor: 2010

Charlotte Harbor NEP will work to develop conceptual ecological model(s) to help bridge the gap between vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans.

Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program

Prioritizing TMDLs Using Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise: 2012

The successful restoration of the Indian River Lagoon is dependent upon the protection of existing seagrass habitat and the regrowth of seagrasses in barren deeper areas to its ecological depth limit.  The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program will model seagrass response to sea level rise to identify and rank areas of probable habitat collapse or robust proliferation.  This project will ensure that scarce resources are directed toward strategies that improve water quality and achieve TMDL nutrient reductions in places with higher probability of successfully expanding seagrass coverage.

Impacts of Sea Level Rise to Wetlands in the Indian River Lagoon: 2010

Indian River Lagoon NEP is assessing impacts of sea level rise to wetlands in the Indian River lagoon and will identify sites with the potential for management as up-gradient locations for wetland migration as sea level rises. Outreach and education to inform stakeholders and build support for these efforts will also be conducted.

Vulnerability Assessment for the City of Satellite Beach, Florida: 2009

Indian River Lagoon NEP is working with the City of Satellite Beach, Florida, on a sea level rise vulnerability assessment, which will be used to identify options for reducing risk, plan for adaptation, and educate local decision makers. Indian River Lagoon NEP hopes that initial success with the City of Satellite Beach will attract the interest of other municipalities within the estuary.

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program

Toulmins Spring Branch Community Adaptation, Three Mile Creek Watershed: 2014

Within the Three Mile Creek watershed, the low-income, traditionally-underserved community located along Toulmin Springs Branch faces a disproportionate burden of environmental impacts related to development, climate change, and sea level rise. Current flooding problems are only expected to get worse. MBNEP will help Mobile County and residents with adaptation planning for the flooding challenges in this area. MBNEP will create informational material about the risks, and will seek out and facilitate the involvement of community members in finding appropriate responses to flooding and the increasing hazards related to sea level rise and storm surge.

Assessing Climate Risks in the Lower Three Mile Creek Watershed: 2012

Climate change threatens human and environmental resources in the lower Three Mile Creek watershed.   Low income and environmental justice communities that surround the creek are particularly vulnerable to impacts associated with increased stormwater runoff, nonpoint source pollution, and sea level rise.  The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program will assess climate change vulnerability and resilience, and increase community understanding of how climate change will affect people, water quality, and ecological integrity in the Three Mile Creek watershed.  This project will improve the knowledge and capacity of key stakeholders and local residents to actively participate in watershed management and adaptation planning in order to improve the area's resiliency to the impacts of climate change.

Raising Community Awareness of Climate Risks and Adaptation Options: 2012

In partnership with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Town of Dauphin Island, the Dauphin Island Water and Sewer Authority, and the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program will work to improve the ability of Dauphin Island to adapt to climate change.  Assistance and support will be provided to scope climate change impacts to the natural and built environment as well as water infrastructure.  A climate change risk assessment and a review of the comunity's adaptive capacity will lead to recommendations for addressing the identified vulnerabilities.

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

Addressing Sea Level Rise in the Sarasota Bay National Estuary Program Region: 2011

To build on their previous CRE project, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and its partners will prepare a guide on tips and early lessons learned from introducing an online sea level rise viewer. The focus of this guide will be on the experiences gained working with local governments, local business and community leaders, and other interested organizations.

Addressing Sea Level Rise in the Sarasota Bay National Estuary Program Region: 2010

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program develop an online sea level rise viewer for Sarasota Bay using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data. A report with maps and a technical explanation of results was also prepared. SBEP also received EPA assistance to develop an adaptation plan that includes public outreach and that supports updates to local comprehensive plans to integrate adaptation measures.

Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Vulnerability Assessment of Tampa Bay CCMP Goals to Climate Change: 2015

The project objective is to systematically evaluate the current and proposed Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) Goals developed by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

Tampa Bay Blue Carbon Climate Ready Estuaries assessment and future scenarios: 2015

This project will improve blue carbon models of Tampa Bay by collecting samples for carbon sequestration rates and budgets, and assessing blue carbon estimates under various future sea level rise scenarios.

The Gulf Coast Community Handbook: 2011

Building on their previous CRE work, Tampa Bay Estuary Program will coordinate a cooperative effort to develop the Gulf Coast Community Handbook. The handbook will use case studies from around the Gulf of Mexico to illustrate on-the-ground approaches and lessons learned.

The Gulf Coast Community Handbook: 2009

EPA has worked with Tampa Bay Estuary Program to initiate the development of a manual for Gulf Coast communities to assist in incorporating climate change effects into habitat restoration and protection. This project will identify actions for improving resiliency in estuarine restoration and protection plans in all coastal communities along the Gulf Coast.

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Region 6: LA, AR, OK, NM and TX

Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program

Texas Coastal Bend Regional Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: 2014

The Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program will be conducting a climate change vulnerability assessment within the Coastal Bend of Texas. The study will identify potential changes in this region and how those changes have an effect on climate stability, sea level, hydrology, water quality, geomorphology, natural habitats and species, land use changes, economy, human health, human infrastructure, and variable risk projections. The work will map climate change impacts using an online tool. Results and decision support will be provided to coastal communities. Climate change risks will also be cross referenced with CCMP goals to inform adaptation strategies.

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Region 9: AZ, CA, HI and NV

Morro Bay National Estuary Program

Climate Vulnerability Assessment and Conservation Plan: 2014

The Morro Bay National Estuary Program will conduct a risk-based climate change vulnerability assessment and incorporate this information into a new habitat conservation plan. MBNEP wishes to identify a network of lands to focus conservation efforts that provide (1) critical habitat for sensitive species, (2) high biodiversity patterns, (3) essential ecosystem services and function, and (4) the greatest opportunity for biodiversity to adapt naturally in a changing and variable climate. Climate stressors will be considered for their effects on water quality and water quantity, habitat suitability, sensitive species populations, and other factors. MBNEP will examine the role of water quality and water quantity in supporting a healthy ecosystem and surrounding communities. Analysis of ecosystem services and functions will include parameters such as dissolved oxygen, bacteria, nutrients and sediment. MBNEP and its partners will use the Marxan decision support tool to help decide where to focus resources. Once the various scenarios are presented, MBNEP, project partners and regional experts will assess risks based on available data and their local knowledge and expertise and evaluate how changes will impact CCMP implementation. Risks will be ranked during this evaluation. The assessment will address opportunities, constraints, threats and vulnerabilities relating to climate change to help inform and guide future decision making and project selection throughout the conservation planning process.

Climate Change Risk to Drinking Water Supplies: 2011

The Morro Bay National Estuary Program will work with EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) and a local water utility to develop information for a climate risk assessment focusing on drinking water supplies in the watershed. The Climate Resilience Evaluation and Adaptation Tool (CREAT) and SEAWAT (a groundwater flow model) will be used to gauge climate change risk to surface water and groundwater supplies and assess adaptation options.

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Climate Change Assessment for Comprehensive Conservationand  Management Plan Revision: 2014

SFEP intends to engage experts in a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan update process to better understand and incorporate expected climate stressors and ensure appropriate adaptation efforts are reflected in the final actions in the new CCMP. Input from climate science and policy experts will help ensure that SFEP is using the latest regional information on the full array of likely stressors, adaptation strategies, and expected ecological impacts from a warming world. A revised CCMP will focus on ways to create resiliency in the San Francisco Estuary so that it can continue to support plants, wildlife, fisheries, the food web, and other vital ecological services. The updated CCMP will address climate change trends and include an overarching climate change adaptation response to all program areas.

Expert Elicitation and Vulnerability Assessment: 2008

The San Francisco Bay Program worked in partnership with EPA's Office of Research and Development to use expert elicitation as a methodology for identifying climate change-related risks.  In this pilot study, groups of experts focused on key ecosystem processes related to sediment retention in mudflats and salt marshes and resulting impacts on wading shorebirds and their food sources.  Results from this effort were published in February 2012. 

Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission

Risk-based, climate change vulnerability assessments: 2015

Conduct a broad, risk-based climate change vulnerability assessment of the actions and milestones in the SMBNEP’s Bay Restoration Plan

Vulnerability of the Ballona Wetlands and Watershed: 2010

The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission will investigate the vulnerability of wetlands to sea level rise. The results of this investigation will inform wetland managers in their decision-making and will be incorporated into the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability climate action plan.

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Region 10: AK, ID, OR and WA

Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: 2015

The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment will include the broad, risk-based vulnerability assessment and will include appropriate responses to assessment findings.

Climate Change Vulnerability of Streams to Temperature Increases: 2015

This project will map locations, extent and magnitude of cold water refugia within the Columbia River Gorge from Sandy River, Oregon up to Bonneville Dam. The project will develop conceptual models of stressors and drivers of stream temperature for lower Columbia River tributaries. The models will be applied to representative tributaries within the Columbia River Gorge using climate scenario predictions for precipitation and temperature to estimate potential changes in stream temperatures to identify actions that can be taken to mitigate the potential increases, including changes to habitat restoration designs.

Climate Change Impacts: Vulnerability of Lower Columbia River Wetland Ecosystems to Sea Level, Precipitation, Temperature, and CO2 Changes: 2014

A knowledge gap about climate changes to coastal habitats puts millions of public dollars invested in stormwater management, active farms and ranches, and ecosystem restoration, at risk. A key issue in the Columbia system is that present efforts focus on protecting or restoring current or historic habitats with little consideration of how these habitats and lands will survive future changes in climate. Because restoration techniques or farming practices have yet to incorporate predicted climate change impacts, there is a risk of even further losses to ecosystem services to the region. This project will begin a synthesis of data, information and projections to support environmental modeling and decision making.

Incorporating Climate Change into the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan: 2010

The Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership is incorporating climate change into the estuary program’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan to guide climate change adaptation efforts and to implement its strategy.

Puget Sound Partnership

Adaptation Guidance for Habitat Restoration; Development of Climate Change Indicators: 2010

The Puget Sound Partnership will work to develop adaptation guidance for habitat restoration projects and to identify climate change indicators for the regional monitoring program. The Puget Sound Partnership is also receiving EPA assistance to support its plans to incorporate climate change adaptation into the Puget Sound Action Agenda that guides regional recovery activities.

Tillamook Estuaries Partnership

Climate change vulnerability assessment: 2015

The objective is to create a broad, risk-based climate change vulnerability assessment.

Climate Change Impacts Assessment for Tillamook Estuaries Partnership: 2011

The Tillamook Estuaries Partnership will develop a vulnerability assessment of likely climate change effects in their watershed to bring together the current understanding of how the climate will change and what the significant environmental impacts will be.

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