Archive for the '2019' Category

Turtle Island Restoration Network

Posted by on Feb 27 2021 | 2019, Ecology, Grantees

Turtle Island Restoration Network’s research expeditions in Cocos Island National Park have revealed highly migratory species, like this whale shark, use “swimways” to move between protected marine reserves in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

Staff, interns, and volunteers of Turtle Island Restoration Network working together to grow, tend and care for native plants used to restore critical habitat for Coho salmon in Lagunitas Creek.

Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Gulf Program Director Joanie Steinhaus evaluates a water sample that a group of elementary school students helped collect for microplastics, an increasingly urgent threat to both humans and marine environments.

Turtle Island Restoration Network’s nesting beach protection program in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica protects a secondary nesting beaches for endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles, to ensure leatherback hatchlings like this one have an increased rate at survival.  

An intern at Turtle Island Restoration Network plants native plants and trees at a restoration site in the Lagunitas Creek Watershed, the most important habitat for the recovery of endangered coho salmon.

Turtle Island Restoration Network’s salmon-saving program in Northern California, known as SPAWN, recently removed a 100-year-old dam that was blocking the migration of endangered coho salmon and creating poor habitat conditions for coho and other at-risk species.

Turtle Island Restoration Network
2019 – $10,000 General Support

Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) has been a leading advocate for the world’s ocean and marine wildlife for more than 30 years. Over decades, TIRN has worked tirelessly to create long-lasting positive change based on science to help protect numerous marine species including sea turtles, whale sharks, and coho salmon.

With humble beginnings as an all-volunteer grassroots effort, TIRN has continued to grow and help affect change throughout the world. Today, TIRN responds rapidly to environmental threats to the ocean, inland watersheds, and marine wildlife.

Programs span across the globe, including the coastal waters of the Galapagos Islands, the sandy beaches of Galveston, Texas and the redwood forests of California, to protect sharks, coho salmon, marine mammals, and seabirds from a myriad of threats including industrial overfishing, destruction of coastal and riverine habitat, and the threat of climate change from fossil fuel projects. With TIRN’s Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) initiative, the organization engages in on-the-ground protection and restoration of endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead in the Bay Area and the environment on which we all depend. SPAWN uses a multi-faceted approach to accomplish its mission, including habitat restoration, conservation research and monitoring, science-based advocacy, grassroots empowerment, public and environmental education, media campaigns and collaboration with other organizations and agencies who share our vision.

Through its work, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and other marine species have been saved through grassroots empowerment, consumer action, strategic litigation, hands-on restoration, environmental education, and by promoting sustainable local, national and international marine policies.

The critical work TIRN has influenced is witnessed across the globe and has contributed substantial and measurable change for the environment, wildlife and people.

To save 50,000 sea turtles annually, TIRN helped shut down a Mexican sea turtle slaughterhouse and convinced Mexico to stop all legal turtle slaughter and join the Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Convention on Foreign Trade (CITES). 

TIRN’s role in reforming regulations and policies helped close 250,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean to protect sea turtles and marine mammals from harmful fishery practices. 

The organization’s work restored over 100,000 square feet of crucial creekside habitat for wild coho salmon, an issue close to the organization’s headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area.

These are just a few examples of the significant changes TIRN has affected in its commitment to acting as wise, willing, and able stewards of life in the earth’s oceans and on its lands. 

A network of thousands of supporters, volunteers, and pro bono professionals help TIRN accomplish its mission of protecting marine wildlife and the ocean and inland watersheds that sustain them. 

With an extensive history of caring for the state and health of the planet, TIRN has had an influential effect for over three decades. Today, it remains true to its original vision and is able to respond rapidly to environmental threats to our ocean, streams and marine wildlife. 

TIRN will not be slowing down and will continue to work for the planet and look forward to a bright future for our blue-green planet.

10,000 Redwoods

The 10,000 Redwoods Project is a science-based, multi-faceted program to plant thousands of redwood trees and other native forest and riparian vegetation to address (1) climate change by sequestering carbon; (2) critically endangered salmon recovery through habitat restoration; and (3) improved water quality through creek bank stabilization and filtering run-off. The 10,000 Redwoods Project provides a textbook demonstration of how we simultaneously improve the ecosystem services that are vital to both wildlife and humans by protecting and enhancing critical habitat.

The 10,000 Redwoods Project addresses the global issue of climate change by creating a carbon sink to fight climate change through local, hands-on action and education by: 

  • Protecting and expanding creekside redwood forests in the Lagunitas Creek Watershed and elsewhere that shelter endangered species including wild endangered coho salmon, Northern spotted owls and California freshwater shrimp. 
  • Sequestering carbon, a cause of climate change, through planting native redwood trees, riparian plants, and other redwood forest trees and understory plants in crucial watersheds.
  • Planting trees, which provide creekside food and shelter to salmon and other wildlife. Eventually, branches and trunks fall in the creek to create “large woody debris,” an essential component of healthy streams and salmon habitat. 
  • Improving water quality by creating self-sustaining riparian and floodplain plant communities that keep water cool and clean through natural filtration. 
  • Engaging volunteers in the satisfying work of collecting native seeds, raising trees and other plants, and “out-planting” them at restoration sites. 
  • Reaching beyond the Lagunitas Creek Watershed to engage students and volunteers of all ages to raise and plant native redwood trees throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. TIRN provide seeds, supplies and support to classrooms and individuals to raise trees for planting in both the Lagunitas Creek Watershed and other areas where redwoods have historically grown. 
  • Building a climate change movement that motivates the public with a simple way to reduce their carbon footprint. 
  • Providing the public with a mechanism to help accelerate carbon sequestration from the atmosphere to mitigate for the release of greenhouse gasses.


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Posted by on Feb 21 2021 | 2019, Ecology, Grantees, Uncategorized

2019 – $15,000 General Support

For over two decades, Canopy has been the leading voice for trees in San Francisco Midpeninsula communities, using trees as change agents to mitigate climate change, advance environmental justice, and transform neighborhoods. Each year Canopy engages thousands of local families, volunteers, and students in planting trees and stewardship at parks, school campuses, and neighborhoods. Canopy carefully selects the “right tree for the right place” to ensure long-lived trees that deliver maximum community benefit. The trees provide shade for streets and buildings, reduce urban heat island effect, store and sequester carbon long-term, beautify neighborhoods, and support local ecosystem functions and a diverse web of native wildlife.

Canopy also equips hundreds of K-12th grade students with hands-on environmental science lessons and urban forestry internships, sparking their curiosity about nature and empowering youth to make a difference in their community. The growing scale and complexity of the environmental issues we face, from climate change to pollution to loss of biological diversity, demands an environmentally literate public that is inspired to act as stewards of the earth and apply practical environmental know-how to support an improved quality of life. That is why Canopy starts with youth environmental education as an entry point to develop the next generation of environmental stewards who will contribute to the growth of urban tree canopy and our future of climate resiliency.

Creating a healthy urban forest takes much more than planting trees. Without smart policies and long-term investment, urban trees and green spaces are vulnerable to drought, development, poor planning, and inadequate care. Canopy has successfully made the case for investing in community trees, with far-reaching impact in local communities and beyond.

Founded in 1996, Canopy was created to support the City of Palo Alto’s urban forestry programs and educate residents about the value of trees and their care. In 2006, Canopy began partnering with the community of East Palo Alto to address environmental equity and public health issues in their city, particularly those associated with unequal canopy cover and lack of access to urban nature.

In 2017, Canopy further expanded to meet growing demand for programs in Belle Haven, Mountain View, North Fair Oaks, and Redwood City. Today, Canopy is a regional and sector-leading organization with active programs in five Midpeninsula cities and counting.

Canopy’s mission to grow urban tree canopy in Midpeninsula communities is accomplished through three interconnected core programs:

Trees: Canopy takes direct action to grow tree canopy cover and enhance green spaces by engaging volunteers and partners to plant hundreds of trees and steward thousands of trees every year in their communities.

Education: Through K-12 programs, High School Internships, and Adult Education programs, Canopy leads communities to the knowledge, attitude, skills, and actions that support the urban forest.

Advocacy: Through advocacy at various jurisdiction levels, Canopy steps up to help partners adopt tree-friendly policies and practices, and ensure adequate funding for tree programs in the Midpeninsula.

By growing local urban forests, Canopy creates urban environments that restore community health and invigorate natural ecosystems. And by empowering youth and residents, Canopy plants the seeds of community connection and long-lasting change.

Canopy’s The Great Oak Count Project Report
The Great Oak Count is a citizen science survey of native oaks in Palo Alto using state-of-the-art online digital mapping technology. Twenty years ago, Canopy engaged volunteers in the “Oakwell Survey” of 9,000 native oaks on public and private property in Palo Alto, the only known comprehensive oak dataset. The city was losing its iconic mature oaks at an alarming rate and the City Council had just adopted its first tree protection ordinance. In 2017, Canopy launched The Great Oak Count to engage volunteers in a new survey of the native oaks to create an updated geolocated inventory and map.

Native oaks play a unique role in improving critical urban functions, and as the state of our environment becomes more precarious these trees will enhance the capacity of cities to adapt to a changing climate.

The Great Oak Count is the first program that implements San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Landscape Resilience and Re-Oaking principles. The Great Oak Count fills a key gap in urban forestry research by providing information about tree population dynamics on private lands, which comprise the majority of urban forest canopy. The Great Oak Count data is unique, and can help researchers understand regional urban oak population changes, assess the effectiveness of tree protection ordinances, and make informed resource management decisions.

Funding from the Seed Fund helped Canopy assemble a nimble team of Palo Alto volunteers to survey and map the native oaks throughout the city. Canopy’s project lead is an oak expert and has guided the volunteer team to survey over 2,000 native oaks in nine neighborhoods. The project lead is responsible for recruiting and conducting training sessions with volunteers, organizing volunteer teams to survey, and tracking progress with the Tree Plotter mapping tool. Funding from the Seed Fund also helped Canopy to create materials to promote the survey project, and purchase tablets and data plans to bring the training into the field.


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People for Bikes

Posted by on Feb 15 2021 | 2019, Education, Grantees, Uncategorized

Better Bike Share Partnership – Philadelphia Indego System; credit Joshua Mallory

People for Bikes
2019 – $12,000 General Support

The PeopleForBikes Foundation is a national, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission of putting more people on bicycles more often and making bicycling better for everyone. PeopleForBikes Foundation programs include PlacesForBikes, helping to build connected networks of bicycle infrastructure in U.S. cities through initiatives including the Final Mile, City Ratings and Advocacy Academy; the Better Bike Share Partnership, a grant-funded collaborative to improve access to and use of shared micromobility systems in low income and communities of color; the PeopleForBikes campaign, a powerful national movement of people who ride bikes and want riding to be safer, more comfortable and more accessible; and Ride Spot, a platform to help people find and share great places to ride. 

Since its beginning, PeopleForBikes has been dedicated to helping cities, regions and advocacy organizations at the local and state levels advance, promote and build safe places to ride a bike. In recent years, this focus on infrastructure has been reflected through three integrated initiatives: Final Mile, City Ratings and Advocacy Academy. 

Final Mile is accelerating the installation of complete mobility networks in five U.S. cities: Austin, Denver, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Providence. By combining proven advocacy strategies with public communication tools, this effort builds broad support for new, cost-effective mobility networks. In each city network will increase bike riding and reduce single occupancy motorized vehicle trips. The Final Mile matches investments in mobility infrastructure made by its partner cities with support for specific needs identified by those cities. The program also provides a suite of additional resources including public opinion research, paid communications outreach through digital, broadcast and print media, and support for outreach and engagement activities through local non-profit organizations. The Final Mile cities will complete increases to their mobility networks of between 50 and 150 miles by the end of 2022. 

City Ratings is a data-driven approach to evaluating more than 600 U.S. cities based on the connectivity of their bicycle networks and the experience of riding for those who live there. Using feedback from everyday bike riders, city staff, open-source maps and publicly available data, each city receives a score from 1-100. Detailed maps from the Bicycle Network Analysis tool helps leaders and staff pinpoint areas for improvement so that investments in infrastructure are leveraged for maximum benefit to the people who use it. 

Advocacy Academy is an online video and resource library for city leaders, decision makers and advocates. It provides the necessary tools and information to understand how cities are evaluated through the City Ratings program and how to make cities better for bikes. The first series, Lessons from the Best Biking Cities, includes interviews with key staff and critical takeaways for how and why building a comprehensive bicycling network contributes to a stronger community. 

The Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) is a grant-funded collaborative focused on increasing access to and use of shared micromobility in low-income and communities of color. Together with partners at the City of Philadelphia and the National Association of City Transportation Officials, PeopleForBikes launched new programs in 2020 aimed at increasing the diversity of the micromobility workforce, piloting new strategies for addressing barriers to access in BIPOC communities, and providing technical assistance, resources and stories of challenge and success for those working to make bike and scooter share an accessible mode of transportation for all. 

Finally, the PeopleForBikes campaign and Ride Spot ensure that the voices of millions of Americans who ride bikes are heard and amplified, and that more are welcomed to bicycling with rides curated for them. The Ride Spot app helps bike shops, advocacy organizations and individual riders map and share local routes while making it easier for other riders to find and follow them. With the ability to add images, captions and anecdotes, Ride Spot Stories turn rides into experiences. 

In 2019, the Seed Fund invested in a PeopleForBikes initiative to develop user-friendly templates to help communities measure the economic benefits of street improvements. These templates are an extension of a study conducted in partnership with Bennett Midland consulting and Portland State University to examine the economic benefits to businesses located along corridors where bicycle infrastructure was installed. The study looked at four U.S. cities and used sales tax and employment data to compare improvement corridors to comparable corridors without improvements. PeopleForBikes published study results from the four cities, along with a summary report and study guide with the template to help other cities conduct their own assessments. Across all four cities, improvements in bicycle infrastructure either improved economic indicators or did not change them, results that the partners publicized widely in 2020.


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Posted by on Feb 14 2021 | 2019, Ecology, Grantees

Australia and the Amazon recently experienced unprecedented fire seasons. In response, WWF raised money for on-the-ground response efforts and provided guidance to governments on necessary wildlife survival interventions. Going forward, WWF will work to ensure unburned habitat is protected while restoring species and habitats with a strong focus on climate resilience and connectivity. Credit: Marizilda Cruppe / WWF-UK

Sunda pangolin. Zoonotic diseases like COVID-19—ones that jump from animals to humans—occur when human activities encroach on wild places and species. WWF is working to reduce the harmful practices that lead to zoonotic diseases and mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on communities and conservation programs. Credit: Suzi Eszterhas / Wild Wonders of China / WWF

Aerial photo of Orinoco River and tepui of Colombia. Through their Earth for Life initiative, WWF works with partners to create and expand proper management of conservation areas using a novel financial approach. WWF has helped create programs in Brazil, Bhutan, Peru, and Colombia. Credit: Day’s Edge Productions

Community members digging for Devil’s Claw in Bwabwata National Park, Namibia. In countries around the world, WWF strives to balance the needs of people and wildlife through community-driven initiatives. Credit: Gareth Bently / WWF-US

Bison released into newly expanded range at Badlands National Park. WWF helped raise funds to make the expansion possible. This is the first time since 1877 that bison have set foot on this part of the prairie. WWF leads innovative work with public agencies, tribal nations, ranchers, and other partners to create a sustainable future for North America’s Northern Great Plains. Credit: Clay Bolt / WWF-US

Tiger mother and cub age four months, Ranthambhore, Rajhasthan, India. India is home to approximately two-thirds of the world’s wild tigers. In 2019, a WWF-supported tiger survey found an estimated 2,967 tigers—an indicator of growing or stable populations. WWF is dedicated to stabilize and increase populations of many of the world’s most iconic and threatened species. Credit: naturepl.com / Andy Rouse / WWF

2019 – $5,000 Amazon Relief Efforts

In 1961, a small group of ardent naturalists and conservationists created the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to “conserve the world’s fauna, flora, forests, landscape, water, soils, and other natural resources.” Until that time, conservation had been largely the domain of scientists. The group launched a public appeal to save the black rhino, whose numbers had dwindled to less than 2,500 animals. Thanks to persistent conservation actions across Africa, black rhino numbers have doubled from their historic low 20 years ago.

With a 60-year history of results, a foundation grounded in science, and a global network, WWF is dedicated to addressing conservation challenges on a grand scale. WWF works in partnership with others across multiple sectors and industries to protect the world’s most important ecosystems and their species and habitats; strengthen local communities’ ability to conserve natural resources; transform markets and policies; and mobilize millions of people to support conservation. WWF is organized around six goals—Climate, Forests, Freshwater, Oceans, Sustainable Food, and Wildlife—that support its mission and foster innovation.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, WWF-US is an independent affiliate of the international WWF
Network and plays an important role in WWF’s conservation programs all over the world. WWF
works in 100 countries and has 1.2 million members in the United States and more than five million supporters globally.

WWF partners with a wide range of groups and individuals to protect iconic wildlife, conserve vast land and waterscapes, and promote community livelihoods and economies. Thanks to the commitment of donors, members, and partners, WWF tackles solutions that build a better tomorrow for both people and nature. Most recently, WWF:

  • Worked with public and private partners across 13 countries to double the global tiger population by 2022, the year of the Tiger. 
  • Restored bison to America’s Northern Great plains, including the newly established 27,680-acre Wolakota Buffalo Range on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota and slated to become North America’s largest Native American owned and managed bison herd. 
  • Created a Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online with major e-commerce companies, including Tencent, Ebay, and Etsy, which to date have blocked or removed more than three million listings of endangered and threatened species and associated wildlife products from their online platforms.
  • Completed a survey of Fiji’s Great Sea Reef, which harbors approximately 40% of the known plant and animal species in Fiji and supplies as much as 80% of the fish caught for the domestic fisheries industry. 
  • Developed new climate action coalitions made up of businesses, local governments, community leaders and other stakeholders to champion a zero-carbon transition in key countries such as Vietnam, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, and most recently Brazil.
  • Helped prevent the next pandemic by addressing pressures on nature—including wildlife consumption and deforestation–that lead to zoonotic diseases like COVID-19.  

Emergency Amazon Fire Fund

WWF is grateful to the Seed Fund for supporting the Emergency Amazon Fire Fund. In 2019, more than 27,000 square miles of the Brazilian Amazon and 19,300 square miles of Bolivia burned. Communities—as well as jaguars, tapirs, and other threatened wildlife—lost their homes, as volunteers worked arduously to extinguish fires with little to no training and only basic equipment. WWF raised more than $1.4 million that helped furnish firefighting equipment—including gloves, protective goggles, machetes, chainsaws, water pumps, hoses; and even food, water, and medical supplies–for impacted communities. The Fund also provided communication radios and GPS, car rentals, and fuel to deliver supplies in remote areas, as well as equipment and training to monitor ongoing fires and provide alerts to those at risk. To mitigate the threat of future fires, local organizations, communities, and key partners used WWF funding to launch fire awareness campaigns and convene fire management and prevention workshops.


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South Bay Salt Ponds

Posted by on Feb 14 2021 | 2019, Ecology, Grantees

The gravel beach would help provide nature-based protection at Eden Landing. Photo by Dave Halsing

Scouting gravel beach and berm pilot location at Eden Landing. Photo by Dave Halsing

Gravel Beach and Berm Location. Photo credit: Cris Benton

Eden Landing Kayak Launch – under construction. Cris Benton.

Completed viewing platform at historical site of Alvarado Salt Works. Photo: Cris Benton.

South Bay Salt Ponds
2019 – $15,000 General Support

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project encompasses 15,100 acres of former salt ponds around the edge of South San Francisco Bay. It is the largest wetlands restoration project on the West Coast of the United States. The Project began in 2003, when the properties were acquired from Cargill Inc. Funds for the acquisition were provided by federal and state agencies and several private foundations. Those ponds are now part of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Eden Landing Ecological Reserve near Hayward, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge at the Bay’s south end. A third agency, the State Coastal Conservancy, plans and administers the Project.

This acquisition was the initial step in a larger campaign to restore 40,000 acres of lost tidal wetlands to San Francisco Bay – important because about 85% of its historic wetland have been lost to fill or alteration. The 50-year Project will be conducted in multiple phases at the Eden Landing, Ravenswood, and Alviso pond complexes.

The Project has three main goals:

  • Restoration: Restore and enhance a mix of wetland habitats 
  • Recreation: Provide wildlife-oriented public access
  • Flood Risk Management: Provide flood risk management in the South Bay


The Project is providing critical new habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife, transforming a landscape the size of Manhattan into a thriving wetland ecosystem. The two main types of habitat restoration are:
Tidal marsh – Salt marsh, mud flats and sloughs provide shelter for endangered wildlife such as the salt marsh harvest mouse and Ridgway’s rail; rich feeding grounds for shorebirds; and nursery areas for young.

Tidal marshes are important for human communities too, as they absorb waves and high tides from storms and rising sea levels, protection the infrastructure behind them.

Enhanced managed ponds – The Bay Area serves as a critical stop along the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds, and many bird species became dependent on ponds in SF Bay during the 150 years in which salt has been made here. Enhancing and managing former salt ponds carefully provides appropriate feeding, resting and nesting habitats for shorebirds and waterfowl, both resident and migratory, including the threatened western snowy plover.


The Project adds recreational opportunities along the Bay’s shoreline for millions of people. Our wildlife-compatible public access features include these:

  • New trails, including Bay Trail segments and spurs, and connections to existing trail networks
  • Viewing platforms and interpretive stations;
  • Access to cultural resources such as historic salt-making sites;
  • A kayak launch into waterways and the San Francisco Bay Water Trail
  • Maintaining access to fishing and waterfowl hunting, where allowed

Flood Risk Management

The Restoration Project keeps a careful eye to the risks of flooding from tides, storms, and sea level rise.

  • Flood Risk Management: The Project adds, raises, or improves inboard levees to maintain or increase existing levels of flood protection so that flood hazards do not increase. 
  • Sea Level Rise: The Project includes features to adapt to sea-level rise over time. Modeling indicates that tidal wetlands restored soon could keep pace with sea-level rise and buffer sea-level rise. Marshes are biologically productive habitats that capture large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon storage benefits of tidal salt marshes may exceed those of freshwater marshes.

Accomplishments and Next Steps

With the completion of Phase 1 in April 2016, the Project has

  • Restored 3,000 acres of tidal marsh and muted tidal habitat with endangered species returning
  • Enhanced 710 acres of ponds for a variety of birds
  • Created 7 miles of new public trails and added overlooks, historical exhibits, and a kayak launch

The Phase 2 actions are underway at two of the five planned locations, with others ramping up for construction in 2021. In all, the Phase 2 actions will address another 4,000 acres of habitat restoration, 5 miles of trails, and partnered with up to three external agencies to integrate their flood management needs into the work. 

Eden Landing Ecological Reserve

The Phase 2 actions being planned for the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Alameda County, include over 2,200 acres of 11 former salt ponds. A mix of fully tidal and muted tidal marsh restoration and managed pond enhancements will be linked to several improved levees and 3 miles of new Bay Trail. 

This planned work also includes an innovative pilot project for a Gravel Beach and Berm feature that would be built on the outer, bay-facing side of the Project’s edge. This feature would simultaneously provide roosting and foraging habitat for a mix of shorebirds and protect the existing levee from erosion. This is nature-based shoreline management in action. If the 300-foot pilot project is successful, a 2-mile long version of it would be installed there, returning a large stretch of shoreline to a habitat type that has been lost.

With funding from several sources, including the Seed Fund, this novel feature is midway through its design and environmental permitting phase and could enter into construction late in 2022.


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San Francisco Baykeeper

Posted by on Jul 21 2020 | 2018, 2019, Ecology, Grantees, Grantees by Category, Grantees by Year

San Francisco Baykeeper
2019 – $15,000 Coastal Resiliency
2018 – $15,000 Sediment Removal Prevention

San Francisco Baykeeper is the only organization that regularly patrols the Bay for polluters, by both sea and air, and uses environmental laws and the latest science to hold them accountable.  

Baykeeper is a fierce champion for the Bay, monitoring the biggest threats to the Bay’s health. This can include municipal sewage outfalls, as well as government agencies and industrial operations that are out of compliance with the anti-pollution laws that keep the Bay and Bay Area communities healthy. In many cases, the polluters can be convinced to fix what isn’t working, but Baykeeper’s team of scientists and attorneys is always ready to fight for the Bay in court. 

The organization was founded in 1989, and got off to a start worthy of Barbary Coast legend. A tipster called the Baykeeper hotline—which still takes calls to this day—and alerted Baykeeper about a renegade shipyard that was illegally scooping tons of toxic mud off the Bay floor and dumping it onshore. Patrolling by kayak in the dark of night, Baykeeper caught the culprits red-handed—and in the end the Bay won: The company paid stiff fines, and its officers went to jail.   

Baykeeper’s recent wins for the Bay Area include securing a ban on the handling and storage of toxic coal in Richmond, which will keep more than 1 million tons of toxic coal out of the East Bay community every year. Also, Baykeeper took legal action against the US Coast Guard that secured changes in how the Coast Guard cleans its buoys, which will keep toxic heavy metals out of the Bay—and out of all the waters where the Coast Guard operates.   

Baykeeper defeated the Trump administration in 2020 when a federal judge ruled in the organization’s favor in Baykeeper vs EPA to protect 1,400 acres of potential wetlands, which would also buffer South Bay communities from the destructive effects of sea level rise.

Baykeeper recognizes climate change as the greatest threat facing the San Francisco Bay today, along with consequent sea level rise. The Bay Area has a dense waterfront population, with people living next door to over 1,000 toxic industrial sites along its shore. This includes Superfund sites in Hunters Point, Alameda, Oakland, Richmond, and San Jose. These toxic sites pose eminent danger to Bay Area residents.

There is a very real possibility that during a storm, the already elevated waters of the Bay would flood toxic sites, flushing pollutants into the surrounding neighborhoods. Bay Area homes, schools, and businesses would be flooded with poison. Critical infrastructure would be under water too, including SFO and Oakland Airport, roads and freeways throughout the Bay Area, wastewater treatment facilities, and more. 

The Bay Area needs to institute a region-wide climate adaptation plan with teeth and a timeline—a plan that also identifies and prioritizes contaminated shoreline areas and industrial sites for cleanup. 

Baykeeper’s scientists and attorneys are there to help bring that plan together, and to keep an active eye out for polluters. Bayeeper fills a singular role in protecting the San Francisco Bay, the geographic feature that makes the Bay Area unique in the world. The wave that breaks against the shoreline in Tiburon is made of the same water that nourishes the wetlands of Redwood City.

Fighting for Healthy Sediment in San Francisco Bay (2018)

In order to make the Bay more resilient to climate-driven sea level rise, which could devastate San Francisco Bay shorelines and communities, the layers of sand and mud on the Bay’s floor need to stay healthy. When healthy, this sediment replenishes shorelines and wetlands, providing natural protection against rising tides. But private companies, as well as federal and state agencies, have mismanaged and exploited this resource. Baykeeper, with support from the Seed Fund, uses environmental law and science to advocate for safer, state-of-the-art dredging practices, and won a landmark legal victory when the California Court of Appeal ruled that state agencies may not consider sand mining and other mining in waterways to be in the public good.

Preparing San Francisco Bay for Sea Level Rise (2019)

San Francisco Bay is uniquely vulnerable to the ravages of climate change. There are well over 1,000 toxic sites along the Bay, active or no longer in use, that could flood the Bay and adjoining neighborhoods with industrial poisons if the sea level rises—as science predicts it will. With support from the Seed Fund, Baykeeper investigates potentially polluting sites along the Bay that should be prioritized for cleanup, protects wetlands and potential wetlands from development—including prevailing against the Trump administration in Baykeeper vs EPA, which saved South Bay salt ponds from being paved over—and educates decisionmakers about the critical need for regional planning to guard against the effects of climate-driven sea level rise. 


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Point Blue Conservation Science

Posted by on Jul 21 2020 | 2018, 2019, Ecology, Grantees, Grantees by Category, Grantees by Year

Native grass no-till seeding at sunset. This regenerative practice that promotes water and carbon storage was implemented on a ranch in Yolo County. (Photo credit: Corey Shake/Point Blue)

Ranchers and biologists survey the land together in Bohler Canyon (Mono County, CA).  (Photo credit: Alissa Fogg/Point Blue).

Working Lands Group Director Dr. Libby Porzig in the middle of a soil and vegetation survey on the California coast. (Photo credit: Point Blue)

A Ridgway’s Rail observed in the Corte Madera marsh during field monitoring. Birds and other wildlife rely on wetlands and coastal habitat that is threatened by development and rising sea levels. (Photo credit: Megan Elrod/Point Blue)

A Point Blue biologist in the middle of a field survey in the Black John Slough off the Petaluma River. Marshes like this can help prevent or reduce flooding for coastal communities while also conserving wildlife habitat. (Photo credit: Megan Elrod/Point Blue)

Fourth grade students from Live Oak School in Northern California plant native plants in a marsh as part of a project to help restore the marsh’s basic ecosystem functions, including creating wildlife habitat, storing carbon, and buffering the adjacent lands in storms and high tide events. (Photo Credit: Lishka Arata, Point Blue) 

Point Blue Conservation Science
2019 – $15,000 Coastal Resiliency
2018 – $15,000 Rangeland Watershed Initiative

Point Blue Conservation Science is an internationally recognized leader conserving birds, other wildlife, and ecosystems through science, partnerships, and outreach. Point Blue develops nature-based solutions to climate change, habitat loss, and other environmental threats on land and at sea to benefit wildlife and people. Based in California, where the organization was founded in 1965, Point Blue works from the Sierra to the Pacific and has international programs spanning 13 countries from Alaska to Antarctica. Its hundreds of organizational partners range from Native American tribes to K-12 schools, from farmers and ranchers to government agencies. With a foundation of collaborative climate-smart conservation actions today, natural and human communities will thrive well into the future.

Point Blue shares its scientific findings widely to facilitate the adoption of best practices. Through collecting data over decades, the organization identifies trends that provide guidance for government managers. Findings are shared through workshops, digital tools, and publications in scientific journals.

The Seed Fund’s support has facilitated success for the Sustaining Working Lands Initiative, operated in a unique partnership with the US Department of Agriculture. In counties across California, 12 Point Blue partner biologists live in local communities and help their ranching neighbors implement sustainable conservation on their land while simultaneously increasing production of food for livestock. Practices contributing to soil health and minimizing greenhouse gases include planned grazing, soil amendments, and wildlife habitat restoration. These practices increase the ability of soil to hold water, improve fish and wildlife habitat and water reliability downstream, and protect open space. In addition to addressing climate change, Point Blue’s working lands conservation work on tens of thousands of acres each year contributes to improved human health through reduced air and water pollution.

Point Blue also helps farmers and ranchers manage their lands for fire resilience, providing guidance for prescribed burns on private lands across five California counties. These planned burns can help minimize the risk of wildfire while also improving habitat for wildlife.

Point Blue biologists are using drones and associated novel technologies that make mapping rangeland at large spatial scales and fine resolutions efficient. This development can help support improved stewardship of these ecologically valuable landscapes.

To help coastal communities respond to climate change, Point Blue’s Protecting Our Shorelines Initiative improves the ability of wildlife and people to adapt to flooding and erosion caused by rising seas using nature-based solutions. Restoring beaches can reduce wave energy, conserving and restoring wetlands will increase buffer zones and creating elevated spots in marshes provides spaces for wildlife to retreat to. Point Blue created the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Framework, a handbook for coastal decision makers to help determine which nature-based measures and outcomes are suitable for their location (produced with the San Francisco Bay Estuary Institute and Marin County). This guidance is in demand by municipal planners throughout California. With a grant from the Seed Fund, Point Blue is adapting the handbook to create curriculum and pilot a new training for local government planners, which offers the opportunity to apply what they have learned. From this pilot project, the training can be scaled for coastal government planners to learn best practices for adapting to rising seas with a focus on nature-based solutions, throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

Point Blue partners with the U.S. Geological Survey, California government agencies, and others to deliver the state-of-the-art projections for sea level rise and storm induced flooding through our web tool, Our Coast Our Future. The tool has been used by more than 70 local, state, and federal agencies to plan for impacts from sea level rise and we will be adding a new user interface this year to make it even easier for diverse audiences with various levels of technical expertise to use this tool. Point Blue continues to work with coastal stakeholders across CA to apply the best available science and tools, such as Our Coast Our Future, to ensure resilience of our coastal communities and ecosystems from the potential impacts of sea level rise and climate change.


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San Francisco Urban Film Festival

Posted by on Jul 02 2020 | 2017, 2018, 2019, Art, Grantees, Grantees by Category, Grantees by Type, Grantees by Year

Folks enjoy City Is Alive, socially distant on Egbert Avenue, a night of musical performances and interactive murals to celebrate the legacy of everyday heroes that brought joy and life to the Bayview. Photo: Lucas Bradley

Felipe Riley dances in front of an interactive mural projection of his mother, Lenora LeVon, during City is Alive. .Photo: Shantré Pinkney

Folks gather in an unfinished ground-level unit in the East Cut district of San Francisco for a film screening and panel discussion.

A film screening and panel discussion in Fern Alley, San Francisco, where audience members sit in chairs or on blankets.

Participants drafting stories at a Storytelling Workshop at the SFUFF’s 6th annual film festival in 2020.

Audience members gather in the Bayanihan Center for a SFUFF film screening and panel discussion, co-presented by SOMAP Pilipinas, on how different grass-roots organizations use arts and culture to promote community preservation and self-determination. Photo: Emma Marie Chiang

Participants work in small groups during a Storytelling Workshop in partnership with Young Community Developers aimed at building Black intergenerational wealth in the Bayview. Photo: Austin Blackwell

San Francisco Urban Film Festival
2019 – $5,000 General Support 
2018 – $5,000 General Operating Support
2017 – $5,000 Climate Change Programming


The SF Urban Film Fest (SFUFF) gathers a diverse, engaged audience and uses the power of storytelling to spark discussion and civic engagement around urban issues. They ask what it means to live together and create just and equitable cities.

SFUFF is an interdisciplinary storytelling organization that produces an annual film festival, year-round film-based discussion events, and long-term community storytelling projects.

They collaborate with cultural, academic, grass-roots, and civic organizations including the Roxie Theater, SPUR, Imprint City, Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), and many others. Projects are often jointly initiated to combine film and community planning, most recently with Young Community Developers (YCD) in the Bayview Hunters Point and SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District in the SOMA district of San Francisco. In recognition of their impact on empowering communities using storytelling and film, the SFUFF are Artists in Residence at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA).


Film Festival
Since its founding in 2014, SFUFF has produced an annual film festival for 7 seasons and year round programming encompassing 115 events reaching over 8,000 people. They expect to reach many more through their virtual film festival in February 2021.

Based on their festival surveys, year after year, SFUFF attracts diverse audiences and reaches across demographic divides. Its 6th annual film festival audience was 53% people of color. Their audience was also remarkably intergenerational: 18% are aged under 25, 69% are between 26-55 years old, and 13% are aged 55+.

SFUFF engages with diverse filmmakers and panelists. 63% of our 2020 Festival filmmakers are people of color; most notably, 44% of our 2020 Festival filmmakers are women of color. Additionally, 74% of our 2020 Festival panelists are people of color.

Community Storytelling
SFUFF’s community storytelling projects create opportunities for unique cross disciplinary partnerships between community organizations, businesses, cultural institutions and public agencies.

In partnership with YCD, they organized storytelling workshops and produced a short video to kick off the Black Owner’s Campaign. The goal was to build a strong narrative aimed at galvanizing a coalition of Black property owners to support more affordable housing. The resulting video features prominently on the YCD homepage and has resulted in a local developer expressing interest in building housing for Black teachers.

The storytelling and community planning with YCD led to the production of a multi-media one-night socially distant event featuring a live streamed hip hop concert and interactive film projections depicting historic murals. The event, City is Alive, was centered on the theme of everyday heroes who fight for resources and bring joy to the Bayview Hunters Point and was produced in collaboration with Imprint City and YBCA.

SFUFF is working with the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District on a short documentary film that chronicles the displacement of Pilipinx community by the force of redevelopment in the Yerba Buena district of SOMA during the 1970’s, and the community’s resistance and struggle for self-determination that grew out of it and in face of ongoing gentrification and displacement. They are currently in community-driven pre-production with a team of Pilipinx filmmakers and archival researchers, and in late 2021, will organize work in progress screenings and community discussions centering the stories and people of the film. The process of making this film is designed to dovetail with the community planning around the creation of the cultural heritage district that already includes the famous UNDISCOVERED SF night market and Kapawa Gardens.


The SFUFF Core Team brings rich backgrounds in civic innovation, urban planning, housing finance, media, filmmaking, and the humanities. They work year-round planning events and curating programming. During the festival season, a small army of volunteers help them with photography, marketing, ticket sales, audience surveys, and more.

Our Core Team plays artistic roles as Program Producers. They also guide organizational growth and fill administrative and technical roles. The following are brief detailed bios of SFUFF’s Core Team:

Fay Darmawi, Founder and Executive Director
Fay is an urban planner, cultural producer, and community development banker. She belongs to a persecuted Chinese minority group and immigrated to the U.S. from Jakarta, Indonesia as a child.

Kristal Celik, Festival Manager
Kristal has a background in energy and mechanical engineering and identifies with her Turkish immigrant roots.

Robin Abad Ocubillo, Program Producer
Robin is an urban designer and urban planner at the City of San Francisco Planning Department and identifies as an LGBTQ Filipino-American.

Omeed Manocheri, Program Producer
Omeed is a first generation Iranian-American multimedia producer and entrepreneur with a fine arts degree. His media projects include Daily Kabob, a new digital platform to unify the MENA and DESI communities.

Susannah Smith, Program Producer
Susannah is a documentary filmmaker interested in ways race and sexuality interact with the politics of urban development. Susannah is assistant editor on the documentary “Homeroom” premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2021. She identifies as an LGBTQ Jewish-American.

Ronald Sundstrom, Humanities Advisor
Ronald is a Professor of Philosophy and a member of the African American Studies, Critical Diversity Studies programs at the University of San Francisco (USF). He identifies as mixed-race Filipino-American and Black, and LGBTQ.


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Marin Carbon Project

Posted by on Jul 02 2020 | 2017, 2018, 2019, Ecology, Grantees, Grantees by Category, Grantees by Year

MALT staff conducts a baseline assessment to determine the composition of grassland species at a ranch.

MALT staff digs a soil pit to analyze soil characteristics at different depths.

Soil scientists collect soil samples that will measure changes in organic carbon through time (carbon sequestration); soil texture and bulk density (structure and compaction); soil pH (acidity); and soil fertility (nutrient availability).

A soil scientist takes a sample which will be analyzed for bulk density, a measurement of compaction.

Compost is applied to a grazed rangeland at Stemple Creek Ranch. 

Marin RCD staff maps the location of compost application onto different pastures.

A profile of native grass and its root system.  photo credit: PRathmann

Marin Carbon Project
2019 – $20,000 Carbon Cycle Institute
2018 – $20,000 Point Reyes Carbon Farming
2017 – $20,000 Point Reyes National Seashore Carbon Farm Plan

As much as one-third of the surplus CO2 in the atmosphere driving climate change has resulted from land management practices, including agriculture. Carbon farming, a whole-farm approach to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promote long-term carbon sequestration in agricultural ecosystems, holds the potential to significantly reduce GHG by increasing the rate of transfer of atmospheric carbon dioxide to plant material and the soil organic carbon pool, leading to enhanced soil health and increased farm productivity. 

Years of rigorous research undertaken by the Marin Carbon Project (MCP), under the leadership of UC Berkeley Professor Dr. Whendee Silver, has culminated in robust confirmation of the GHG-mitigating efficacy of organic matter amendment on rangeland soils. Dr. Silver’s research demonstrated that agricultural land management practices can measurably increase rates of carbon sequestration, resulting in enhanced soil quality and soil water holding capacity and increased soil carbon and forage production (Ryals and Silver 2013). 

With this research and field validation, MCP integrates carbon farm planning into the existing conservation planning program that help land managers meet their natural resource management goals while supporting productive lands, thriving streams, and on-farm wildlife habitat. The program is applicable to a diversity of land uses and enables MCP partners to identify and quantify practices to increase carbon sequestration and reduce GHG emissions on farm in a whole-farm planning context. These practices support climate change resiliency by reducing atmospheric CO2 levels, improving soil health, water holding capacity, and crop and forage production. By increasing soil water holding capacity, carbon farm practices promote water conservation, reduce overland flow and sediment and nutrient transport, reduce irrigation needs and reduce stream withdrawals, thereby enhancing water quality and instream habitat. Agroforestry practices, such as hedgerows, silvopastures and windbreaks, sequester CO2 while enhancing on-farm microclimate and wildlife and pollinator habitat.

MCP prescribes these climate-beneficial practices by completing Carbon Farm Plans for farmers. MCP partners have completed 19 CFPs across 8,000 acres for dairy and grazing operations in Marin County. The plans have been used to inform Drawdown Marin and the new (2020-2030) Marin County Climate Action Plan. Carbon farm plan data has been used to scale up and estimate agriculture’s potential to meet the goal of reducing GHG emissions and enhancing carbon sequestration on the working lands of the county. An average of eight practices are prescribed in each plan which, if implemented, would collectively sequester 11,585 MTCO2e annually. Over twenty years, this is 258,237 MTCO2e sequestered. The Marin County Climate Action Plan establishes an annual target of 55,752 MT CO2e reduced or sequestered on county working lands, with a target date of 2030.

MCP has already begun the work of helping farmers with practice implementation. In partnership with farmers, public agencies and the Seed Fund, MCP has kicked off the implementation of climate-beneficial practices as prescribed in plans. These practices are improving water quality and quantity for farms and fisheries on coastal agricultural lands. Practices are collectively sequestering 136.2 MTCO2e annually (108 cars driven per year), as calculated using COMET-Planner, an on-farm GHG model developed by Colorado State University, USDA-NRCS and the Marin Carbon Project. Cumulatively, the completed carbon farm practices total: 3,088 linear feet of hedgerow; 1,315 linear feet of 2-3 row windbreak; 2 acres of silvopasture; 518 linear feet of riparian planting; 0.34 AC of critical area planting, and 23.5 acres of compost application.  A total of 2,542 trees and shrubs were planted in conjunction with implementation of these plans. 

The Seed Fund has supported the following MCP endeavors:

  • Carbon Farm Plan Development and Implementation
  • Soil Sampling
  • Assessment of carbon farming potential in the Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Programmatic environmental review of carbon farming practices for streamlined permitting


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Earth Law Center

Posted by on Jul 02 2020 | 2017, 2019, Ecology, Grantees, Grantees by Category, Grantees by Year

Earth Law Center
2019 – $10,000 General Support
2017 – $10,000 Biodiversity Rights Ordinance

Mission: Earth Law Center (ELC) works to pass a new generation of Earth-centered laws in the United States and worldwide, including by seeking legal rights for Nature. California and the San Francisco Bay Area has long been a focal point of our work.

Introduction to Earth Law: Traditional environmental law has failed. Despite the passage of thousands of environmental laws and policies in the U.S. and globally, Nature’s health continues to decline. We must awaken from the misguided belief that exploiting and destroying Nature leads to prosperity. Earth law, or ecocentric law, is an effort to remake the legal system in ways that promote a better balance between human needs and the needs of those ecosystems that we inhabit. 

Goal: ELC’s long-term goal is to build a system of law that aligns human activities with biological constraints on a livable, thriving planet. In the U.S., our strategy to this end is to empower local movements and help them pursue regulatory and legal changes that are more protective of Nature. 

Strategy: ELC works throughout the USA and globally using the following strategies:: 

1. Write model laws that are “ecocentric”—i.e., ecosystem well-being is the primary concern;
2. Work to put ecocentric laws into practice in order to restore ecosystems to health; and

3. Train the next generation of legal professionals to help save the planet; and

Grassroots Campaigns: Much of ELC’s work operates at the local level. ELC provides pro bono legal support to communities wishing to apply new, cutting-edge legal frameworks that are more protective of Nature.  With legal movements growing to give legal rights to Nature and recognize the human right to a healthy environment, amongst others, communities and governments need help drafting strong new laws. Not only does ELC draft these laws, but we also teach other lawyers to do similar work.

History: After being founded in Florida in 2009, ELC spent its formative years operating out of the San Francisco Bay Area, where it hired its first Executive Director and co-founded the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance. Since then, ELC has engaged in law and policy campaigns throughout the Bay Area and California, protecting rivers under the Clean Water Act, advancing new “Earth-centered” laws and policies, and building a movement of legal professionals who work to transform the legal system to better protect Nature. Over the years, ELC has also established a national and global presence with team members in Washington State, New York, and Mexico City, amongst other places. 

Seed Fund Projects: ELC is a proud recipient of two grants from Seed Fund advancing our work. The first project involved advancing the Rights of Nature in San Francisco with an emphasis on Nature’s inherent right to thriving biodiversity. The second project involved new policies that promote native, low water usage, drought-resistant tree species in San Francisco. For both projects, ELC wrote in-depth policy reports, met with a broad range of stakeholders and governmental officials, and submitted formal proposals for new laws/policies that are under consideration in 2021. Through this work, we hope to create a blueprint for a future in which humans and Nature thrive together in harmony in the San Francisco Bay Area. We also hope that new laws will not only protect Nature, but also restore it to health. 

Other Recent Wins: In addition to our work with Seed Fund, here are some of ELC’s wins from the last year or so:

  1. ELC won a major Clean Water Act lawsuit against the State of California, helping to ensure that river pollution is fully addressed by state agencies.
  2. ELC assisted the Nez Perce tribe to write a declaration establishing the rights of the Snake River (Idaho), including its right to flow, based on Native American rights.
  3. ELC successfully secured the promotion of the Rights of Nature within the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was unprecedented for an environmental treaty. 
  4. ELC submitted 8 amicus briefs on the Rights of Nature and human environmental rights in Latin America over the last year. Some have resulted in victories, including a ruling in Oaxaca, Mexico, to restore the health of two rivers, the Atoyac and Salado. 
  5. ELC assisted the State of Colima in Mexico to pass a groundbreaking state constitutional amendment recognizing the Rights of Nature. 
  6. ELC released a law school coursebook entitled “Earth Law: Emerging Ecocentric Law” with Wolters Kluwer as the publisher (September 2020). Numerous law schools and university programs will teach from the book beginning Spring 2021.
  7. ELC drafted a Declaration on the Rights of the Southern Resident Orcas that received 15 organizational endorsements and support from several Washington State legislators.
  8. ELC secured a proclamation by the El Salvadoran Legislative Assembly recognizing that “forests are living entities” with human duties to care for, preserve, and respect forests.
  9. ELC is co-hosting a summit with the federal government of Nigeria to explore a new national law on the rights of rivers, which would be unprecedented in Africa.
  10. ELC earned 35+ media mentions in the last year, including in the Guardian, the Chicago Tribune, NBC News, and numerous environmental magazines.

Learn More: Visit www.earthlawcenter.org. You can also sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

YouTube Videos About Our Work:

General https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lubNvaTigAU
Ocean Rights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH31biWQgt0 
River Rights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2p7EfOKaFA


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