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Special Areas

Coastal "Special Areas"

Note: While the term "Special Areas" is specifically set out in the CZM rules in Subchapter 3, it includes, and is useful for describing, those areas covered under other rules such as the FHA and FWW as well. For that purpose, they are being repeated here.

Subchapter 3 of the Coastal Zone Management Rules outlines environmentally sensitive areas found in the coastal zone that are regulated by the Department.  Your property may contain a variety of regulated special areas or none at all.  If you property contains a special area, you must demonstrate that your proposed project conforms to the requirements for construction within that special area.  In certain circumstances, if your property is immediately adjacent to a property containing a special area, you may have to demonstrate compliance with that rule as well.  More information on how to determine if a special area exists on your property is provided below.  Please refer to the official rules for additional information in determining whether or not a specific special area exists on your property and what activities are permitted within that special area. The following is intended to be a general guideline only.


7:7E-3.2 Shellfish habitat

 A property must meet two parameters in order to be considered regulated shellfish habitat by the Department.  The first is the habitat quality, the second is the water quality.

 The primary method for determining if shellfish habitat exists on your property is by referencing Departmental mapping.  The following maps are used:

  •  “Distribution of Shellfish Resources in Relation to the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway” - U.S. Department of the Interior, 1963
  •  “Inventory of New Jersey’s Estuarine Shellfish Resources” - Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, Bureau of Shellfisheries, 1983-present
  •  “Inventory of Delaware Bays Estuarine Shellfish Resources” - Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, Bureau of Shellfisheries, 1993

 The area is considered shellfish habitat if it is mapped for clams as having “high” or “moderate” commercial value,  or if the area is mapped for bay scallops, soft clams, eastern oyster, or blue mussels.          

 Copies of maps may be viewed at the Division of Land Use Regulation office in Trenton by filling out an {Open Public Records Act (OPRA)} [link to OPRA form] request form. 

 The second parameter is water quality in terms of whether or not shellfish from that area are safe for human consumption.  In order to be considered regulated shellfish habitat by the Department, the area must meet the habitat mapping designation above AND be located within a harvestable area, which is deemed “approved”, “seasonal” or “special restricted”. If an area is mapped as “prohibited”, it is not considered safe to eat shellfish from that area and this excludes that area from being considered regulated by the Department.  If the area is considered unregulated, the project does not have to meet this rule.  Water quality designations are provided yearly through the Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring on their {“Shellfish Growing Water Classification Charts”.} [http://www.nj.gov/dep/bmw/waterclass.htm]

 However, it is important to note that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) regulates shellfish habitat differently than the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection.  The ACOE considers only the habitat mapping (part one above) and does not consider the water quality classification.  Thus, from the ACOE perspective, if the area is mapped habitat according to above, but is also mapped “prohibited”, it is still considered regulated (unlike NJDEP).  Therefore, if you are requesting that the Department review your project for approval under an ACOE general permit, your project will have to adhere to both Department and ACOE standards.   If you choose to adhere only to the Department’s standards, you must apply for and receive an ACOE permit independently prior to any construction.

 7:7E-3.3 Surf clam areas

 If work is proposed within the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean (for example sand mining for beach nourishment projects), you must address this rule.

 7:7E-3.4 Prime fishing areas

Prime fishing areas are those usually associated with public fishing areas including, but not limited to, coastal jetties, groins, public fishing piers or docks, and artificial reefs.  Additionally, natural features such as rock outcroppings, sand ridges or lumps, rough bottoms, aggregates such as cobblestones, coral, shell and tubeworms, slough areas and offshore canyons.  Offshore prime fishing areas are designated on {“New Jersey’s Specific Sport Ocean Fishing Grounds”} [www.state.nj.us/dep/cmp] or on most {nautical charts} [http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/OnLineViewer.html].   In most cases, this rule does not apply to construction associated with single family homes.

7:7E-3.5 Finfish migratory pathways

 Finfish migratory pathways are waterways including rivers, streams, creeks, bays and inlets that serve as passageways for diadromous fish to and from seasonal spawning areas, including anadromous fish which migrate in autumn.  For the most part, this special area is regulated when associated with dredging, bridge, culvert, or dam construction.  Please contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife for further information by calling 609-292-2965.

7:7E-3.6 Submerged vegetation habitat

Submerged vegetation habitat is an area currently supporting or documented as capable of supporting submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).  The most common species regulated are: widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima), sago pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus), horned pondweed (Zannichellia palustris), eelgrass (Zostera marina), and although less common, waterweed (Elodea nuttalli), Eriocaulon parkeri, Liaeopsis chinesis, Naja flexillis, Nuphar variegatum, Potamogeton crispus, Potamogeton epihydrus, Potmamogeton perfoliatus, Potmamogeton pusillus, Scirpus subterminalis and Vallisneria Americana are included.  Detailed mapping of SAV distribution is available and if your property is located within an area designated as SAV habitat, your project must conform to the SAV rule. 

 Copies of maps may be viewed at the Division of Land Use Regulation office in Trenton by filling out an {Open Public Records Act (OPRA)} [link to OPRA form] request form. 

 7:7E-3.7 Navigation channels

 Navigation channels are water areas with sufficient depths to provide safe navigation.  Most navigation channels are marked by buoys or stakes.  All major navigation channels can be found on {National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service Charts} [http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/].

 7:7E-3.8 Canals

 Canals are navigational channels for boat traffic through land areas that were man-made.  Common examples are the Cape May, Point Pleasant, Delaware, and Raritan River Canals.

 7:7E-3.9 Inlets

 Inlets are natural channels through barrier islands allowing the movement of fresh and salt water between the ocean and back bay system. 

 7:7E-3.10  Marina moorings

 A marina mooring area is an area providing (or proposed as providing) five or more recreational vessels with mooring, docking, boat maneuvering room and access to land and navigational channels.  An example would be a “mooring field” associated with a yacht club.

 7:7E-3.11 Ports

 Ports are water areas having or lying immediately adjacent to concentrations of shoreside marine terminals and transfer facilities for the movement of waterborne cargo, including facilities for storage, loading, and unloading.  Examples of major ports in the New Jersey include (but are not limited to) Newark, Elizabeth, Bayonne, Jersey City, Weehawkin, Hoboken, Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Camden, Gloucester City, Paulsboro, and Salem.

 7:7E-3.12 Submerged infrastructure routes

 A submerged infrastructure route is the corridor in which a pipe or cable runs on or below a submerged land surface. This information can be found on {National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service Charts} [http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/].

7:7E-3.13 Shipwreck and artificial reef habitats

 At the present time, we are unable to provide specific guidance on this topic via our website. Please contact the Technical Support Unit for more information on this special area.

7:7E-3.14 Wet borrow pits

Wet borrow pits are scattered, artificially created lakes that are the results of surface mining for coastal minerals extending below groundwater level which create a permanently flooded depression. This includes, but is not limited to, flooded sand, gravel and clay pits, and stone quarries.  Where a wet borrow pit is also a wetlands and/or wetlands buffer, the wetlands and/or wetlands buffer rules (7:7E-27 and 7:7E-3.28 respectively) shall apply.

 7:7E-3.15 Intertidal and subtidal shallows

 Intertidal and subtidal shallows are areas permanently or temporarily submerged from the spring high water line to a depth of four feet below mean low water.  Delineation of the spring high water line and the mean low water line aid in determining if this area exists on your property, along with visual observance of the property.

 7:7E-3.16 Dunes

 At the present time, we are unable to provide specific guidance on this topic via our website. Please contact the Technical Support Unit for more information on this special area.

 7:7E-3.17 Overwash areas

 An overwash area is an area subject to accumulation of sediment (usually sand) that is deposited landward of the beach or dune by the rush of water over the crest of the beach berm, dune, or a structure.  An overwash area may become a dune through stabilization and vegetation.

 7:7E-3.18 Coastal high hazard areas

 Coastal high hazard areas are flood prone areas subject to high velocity waters (V zones) as delineated on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and areas within 25 feet of oceanfront shore protection structures that are subject to wave run-up and overtopping.  The FIRM maps can be viewed online or purchased by visiting the {FEMA Map Service Center} [http://www.msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FemaWelcomeView?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1].  If there is a “V” mapped within the area of where your property is located, then your property is considered as being partially or wholly (as applicable) located within the V zone.

7:7E-3.19 Erosion hazard areas

 Erosion hazard areas are areas of shoreline that are eroding or have a history of erosion, causing the shoreline to be highly susceptible to further erosion and storm damage.  An erosion hazard area can be indentified by any one of the following characteristics:

  1. lack of beaches;
  2. lack of beaches at high tide;
  3. narrow beaches;
  4. high beach mobility;
  5. foreshore extended under boardwalk;
  6. low dunes or no dunes;
  7. escarped foredune;
  8. steep beach slopes;
  9. cliffed bluffs as adjacent to beach;
  10. exposed, damaged or breached jetties, groins, bulkheads or seawalls;
  11. high long-term erosion rates; or
  12. pronounced downdrift effects of groins (jetties).

7:7E-3.20 Barrier island corridor

 Barrier island corridors are the interior portions of oceanfront barrier islands, spits and peninsulas.  In New Jersey, headlands are located between Monmouth Beach, Monmouth County and Pt. Pleasant Beach, Ocean County.  The corridor encompasses the portion of the barrier island, spit, or peninsula that lies upland of wetlands, beach and dune systems, filled water’s edges, and existing lagoon edges.  The corridor does not include the headlands of northern Ocean County, Monmouth County, and the southern tip of Cape May County, which are part of the mainland.

7:7E-3.21 Bay islands

 Bay islands are island or filled areas surrounded by tidal waters, wetlands, beaches or dunes, lying between the mainland and the barrier island.  These islands may or may not be connected to the mainland or barrier island by elevated or fill-supported roads.  {Existing lagoon edges} [jump link to 7:7E-3.24 Existing lagoon edges on same page] are not bay islands.

 For the purposes of this chapter, the following are NOT considered bay islands:

OCEAN COUNTY

  • Bonnett Island, Stafford Twp
  • Chadwick Island, Dover Twp
  • Channel Island, Mantoloking Boro
  • Osborne Island, Little Egg Harbor Twp
  • Pelican Island, Toms River/Berkeley Twps
  • West Point Island, Lavallette Boro

 ATLANTIC COUNTY

  • Bader Field, Atlantic City
  • Chelsea Heights, Atlantic City
  • Venice Heights, Atlantic City
  • Ventnor Heights, Ventnor City

 CAPE MAY COUNTY

  • Princeton Harbor, Avalon Boro
  • Shawcrest/Hildreth Island, Lower and Middle Twps (The areas mapped as Shawcrest/Hildreth Island are identified in the Department’s Geographic Information System (GIS) coverage, titled “Shawcrest/Hildreth Island”.  This coverage is available to download at the CAFRA layers webpage: www.state.nj.us/dep/gis/cafralayers.htm.)
  • West Wildwood, Wildwood City
  • West 17th Street, Ocean City

7:7E-3.22 Beaches

 Beaches are gently sloping areas of sand or other unconsolidated material found on a tidal shoreline, including ocean, bay, and river shorelines, that extend landward from the mean high water line to either of the following features:

  1. a man-made feature generally parallel to the waterbody, such as a retaining structure, seawall, bulkhead, road, or boardwalk.  However, a sandy area that extends fully under and/or landward of an elevated boardwalk is considered a beach; OR
  2. the seaward or bayward foot of dunes, whichever is closest to the bay, inlet, or ocean waters.

 Please contact the Technical Support Unit for more information on this special area.

 7:7E-3.23 Filled water’s edge

 Filled water’s edge areas are existing filled areas lying between wetlands or water areas, and either the upland limit of fill, or the first paved public road or railroad landward of the adjacent water area, whichever is closer to the water.  Some existing or former dredged material disposal sites and excavation fill areas are considered filled water’s edge.  Soil survey maps are useful in gauging if the area has been filled, as fill is usually listed as “fill”, “urban complex” or similar signature.  Soil maps are available from the {Natural Resource Conservation Service}. [http://soils.usda.gov/]  Generally, areas of filled water’s edge must be devoted to water-dependent uses.

 7:7E-3.24 Existing lagoon edges

 Existing lagoon edges are existing, manmade land areas, that are the result of dredging and filling of wetlands, bay bottom, or other estuarine water areas for the purpose of creating waterfront lots along lagoons for residential and commercial development.  Development of  non-water dependent uses in this area is generally acceptable.  Please contact the Department for more information on this special area.

 7:7E-3.25 Flood hazard areas

 Flood hazard areas are land/water areas subject to flooding from the flood hazard area design flood,  as defined by the Department under the {Flood Hazard Area (FHA) Control Act rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13} [link to FHA rule].    There are a few different ways for determining if you are in a flood hazard area and what the characteristics of that area are.  If you are adjacent to a tidal waterway, it is likely that the area is mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA mapping can be found online at the {FEMA Map Service Center} [http://www.msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FemaWelcomeView?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1].  Regulated FHA are areas designated as “A” or “V” on the above maps.  If your property is adjacent to a fluvial waterway (non-tidal), please contact the Technical Support Unit for additional information.

 7:7E-3.26 Riparian zones

 A riparian zone exists along every regulated water EXCEPT that there is no riparian zone along the following waterways: the Atlantic Ocean, manmade lagoons, stormwater management basins, and oceanfront barrier islands, spits, or peninsulas.  A “regulated water” is defined in the {Flood Hazard Area (FHA) Control Act rules at 7:13-2.2 “Regulated Waters”} [link to FHA rules]. 

 7:7E-3.27 Wetlands

 “Wetlands” or “wetland” means an area that is inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and under normal circumstances does support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, commonly known as “hydrophytic vegetation”.

Freshwater wetlands are regulated according to the {Freshwater Wetlands Rules} [jump link to FWW rule]. General wetland areas are identified on the Department’s {NJ Geo-Web} [http://www.nj.gov/dep/gis/newmapping.htm] online mapping tool.  In the Layer Manager menu, select “Wetlands 2007” under the “Land” layer.  The mapping does not provide specific regulatory boundaries and is used for general guidance purposes only.

 Coastal wetlands are regulated pursuant to the Wetlands Act of 1970 (N.J.S.A. 13-9A-1 et seq.). A list of the promulgated wetlands maps is available at {7:7-2.2 Wetlands} [link to CZM rules]. Copies of maps may be viewed at the Division of Land Use Regulation office in Trenton by filling out an {Open Public Records Act (OPRA)} [link to OPRA form] request form. 

 All tidal and inland wetlands, excluding those delineated by the promulgated wetlands maps described above, must be identified and delineated by a professional land surveyor in accordance with the USEPA three-parameter approach (hydrology, soils, and vegetation) specified under {N.J.A.C. 7:7A-1.4 of the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules} [link to FWW rules].

 7:7E-3.28 Wetland buffers

 Wetlands buffers or transition areas are areas of land adjacent to a wetland which minimizes adverse impacts on the wetlands or serves as an integral component of the wetlands ecosystem. Wetlands buffers/transition areas are determined based upon the type of wetlands (coastal or freshwater), classification of the wetland and if the wetland is associated with Threatened or Endangered Species or Critical Wildlife Habitat.   Classification of freshwater wetlands requires receipt of a {Letter of Interpretation (LOI)} [link to LOI information].  For coastal wetlands, up to a 300 foot buffer may be imposed.  Both buffer designations are also subject to the environmental constraints of the property, which may include {Threatened or Endangered Species} [jump link to T&E within this page] or {Critical Wildlife Habitat} [jump link to Critical Wildlife Habitat on this page].

 7:7E-3.31 Coastal bluffs

 A coastal bluff is a steep slope of consolidated (rock) or unconsolidated (sand, gravel) sediment which is adjacent to the shoreline or which is demonstrably associated with shoreline processes.  The slope must be greater than 15%.  Slope is calculated using the site’s delineated elevation contour lines (a professional land surveyor must delineate the contour lines) and the distance from the top of bank to toe of the bluff face.  

 Coastal bluffs must be associated with shoreline processes.  Otherwise, any inland (not associated with a shoreline processes) shall be considered a {“steep slope” at 7:7E-3.34} [jump link to 7:7E-3.34 below].

 7:7E-3.32  Intermittent stream corridors

 At the present time, we are unable to provide specific guidance on this topic via our website. Please contact the Technical Support Unit for more information on this special area.

 7:7E-3.33 Farmland conservation areas

 Farmland conservation areas are defined as any contiguous area of 20 acres of more (in single or multiple tracts of single or multiple ownership) with soils in the Capability Classes I, II and III or special soils for blueberries and cranberries as mapped by the United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, in National Cooperative Soil Surveys, which are actively farmed, or suitable for farming, unless it can be demonstrated by the applicant that new or continued use of the site for farming or farm dependent purposes is not economically feasible. Soil maps are available from the {Natural Resource Conservation Service}. [http://soils.usda.gov/].  Farming or farm-dependent purposes include nurseries, orchards, vegetable and fruit farming, raising grains and seed crops, silviculture (such as Christmas tree farming), floriculture (including greenhouses), dairying, grazing, livestock raising, and wholesale and retail marketing of crops, plants, animals, and other related commodities.

 7:7E-3.34 Steep slopes

 Steep slopes are land areas with slopes greater than 15%, which are not adjacent to the shoreline and therefore are not coastal bluffs (7:7E-3.31).  Steep slopes include natural swales and ravines, as well as manmade areas, such as those created through mining for sand, gravel, or fill, or road grading.  Slopes of less than 15% are not considered steep slopes.  Slope is calculated using the site’s delineated elevation contour lines (a professional land surveyor must delineate the contour lines) and the distance from the top of bank to toe of the slope face.  

7:7E-3.35 Dry borrow pits

Dry borrow pits are excavations for the purpose of extracting coastal minerals and which have not extended below the groundwater level.  This includes, but is not limited to, dry sand, gravel and clay pits, and stone quarries.

7:7E-3.36 Historic and archaeological resources

 Historic and archaeological resources include objects, structures, shipwrecks, buildings, neighborhoods, districts, and man-made or man-modified features of the landscape and seascape, including historic and prehistoric archaeological site, which either are presently on, or are eligible for inclusion on the {New Jersey Register of Historic Places or the National Register of Historic Places}.  [http://www.state.nj.us/dep/hpo/1identify/nrsr.htm]  Click on “Current Listing” on the sidebar menu.

7:7E-3.37 Specimen trees

Specimen tress are the largest known individual tress of each species in New Jersey.  The Department’s Division of Parks and Forestry maintains a list of these {trees} [http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/forest/community/bigtree_registry.html].  In addition, large trees approaching the diameter of the known largest tree shall be considered specimen trees.  Individual trees with a circumference equal to or greater than 85 percent of the circumference of the record tree, as 4.5 feet above the ground surface, for a particular species shall be considered a specimen tree.

7:7E-3.38 Endangered or threatened wildlife or plant species habitat

Endangered or threatened wildlife or plant species habitats are terrestrial and aquatic (marine, estuarine or freshwater) areas known to be inhabited on a seasonal or permanent basis by or to be critical at any stage in the life cycle of any wildlife or plant identified as “endangered” or “threatened” species on official Federal or State lists of endangered or threatened species, or under active consideration for State or Federal listing.  Online mapping of habitat is available through the {NJ Geo-Web} feature [http://www.nj.gov/dep/gis/geowebsplash.htm?SelectMenu=geoweb] and using the “Landscape/Natural Heritage” mapping layers.  The definition of endangered or threatened wildlife or plant species habitats includes a sufficient buffer area to ensure continued survival of the population of the species as well as areas that serve an essential role as corridors for movement of endangered or threatened wildlife.  Absence of such a buffer area does not preclude an area from being endangered or threatened wildlife or plant species habitat.  Further, buffer areas may exist on a property although specific habitat may not.

7:7E-3.39 Critical wildlife habitats

 At the present time, we are unable to provide specific guidance on this topic via our website. Please contact the Technical Support Unit for more information on this special area.

7:7E-3.40 Public open space

Public open space constitutes land areas owned or maintained by State, Federal, county and municipal agencies or private groups (such as conservation organizations and homeowner’s associations) and use for or dedicated to conservation of natural resources, public recreation, visual or physical public access, or wildlife protection or management.  Public open space also includes, but is not limited to, {State Forests, State Parks}, [http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/parkindex.html]

and {State Fish and Wildlife Management Areas} [http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/wmaland.htm ], lands held by the {New Jersey Natural Lands Trust} [http://www.njnlt.org/njpreserves.htm]. Please contact the Technical Support Unit for more information on this special area.

Check with county and municipal authorities for local-level land areas.

7:7E-3.41 Special hazard areas

Special hazard areas include areas with a known actual or potential hazard to public health, safety, and welfare, or to public or private property, such as the navigable air space around airports and seaplane landing areas, potential evacuation zones and areas where hazardous substances are used or disposed, including adjacent areas and areas of hazardous material contamination.  Please contact the Site Remediation Program [http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/] for more information on hazardous substances or use the {NJ Geo-Web} online mapping tool and select appropriate layers under the “Sites and Facilities” layer.

7:7E-3.42 Excluded federal lands

Excluded federal lands are those lands, the use of which is, by law, subject solely to the discretion of or held in trust by the Federal Government, its officers or agents.  Please contact the Department’s Technical Support Unit for additional information about this special area.

7:7E-3.43 Special urban areas

Special urban areas are those municipalities define in urban aid legislation (N.J.S.A. 52:27D178) qualified to receive State aid to enable them to maintain and upgrade municipal services and offset local property taxes.  Please contact the Department’s Technical Support Unit for additional information about this special area.

7:7E-3.44 Pinelands National Reserve and Pinelands Protection Area

The Pinelands National Reserve includes those lands and water areas defined in the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978.  You can use the {NJ Geo-Web} [http://www.nj.gov/dep/gis/newmapping.htm] online mapping tool to determine if your property is located within this area.  In the Layer Manager menu, select “Pinelands Boundary” and “Pinelands Management Area” under the Planning layer.

7:7E-3.45 Hackensack Meadowlands District

Work proposed within the Hackensack Meadowlands District generally requires coordinated review with the {New Jersey Meadowlands Commission} [http://www.njmeadowlands.gov/].  More information is available on the NJ Meadowlands Commission website and by contacting the Department’s Technical Support Unit.

7:7E-3.46 Wild and scenic river corridors

Wild and scenic river corridors are all rivers designated into the {National Wild and Scenic Rivers System} [http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/wild_scenic.htm] and any rivers or segments thereof being studied for possible designation into the system.  Please contact the Technical Support Unit for additional information about this special area.

7:7E-3.47 Geodetic control reference marks

Geodetic control reference marks are traverse stations and benchmarks established or used by the New Jersey Geodetic Control Survey.  Please contact the Technical Support Unit for more information about this special area.

7:7E-3.48 Hudson River Waterfront Area

 The Hudson River Waterfront Area extends from the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, Bergen County to the Bayonne Bridge in Bayonne, Hudson County, inclusive of all land within the municipalities of Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Weekhawken, West New York, Guttenberg, North Bergen, Edgewater and Fort Lee subject to the Waterfront Development law.

 7:7E-3.49  Atlantic City

 Atlantic City is those lands within the municipal boundary of the City of Atlantic City.

 7:7E-3.50 Lands and waters subject to public trust rights

 At the present time, we are unable to provide specific guidance on this topic via our website. Please contact the Technical Support Unit for more information on this special area.

 

 

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