Environment Matters Spring/Summer 2019

A quarterly newsletter on everything fauna, flora and the great outdoors in Ipswich.

Envir nment MATTERS

Spring/Summer 2019

Small Creek welcomes BIG NEWS

Platypus populations plotted with DNA

Ipswich in DROUGHT




‘Landing gear down’ by H McQueen, 2018 p’comp

5 APPS TO DOWNLOAD NOW to be more sustainable

Ipswich Bin app Never miss your bin day again, tips for sorting waste and information about events and services in your area.

Naeus Helping you unearth and explore ecosystems in local parklands and conservation estates.

QuestaGame Head outdoors and snap photos of plants and animals in the wild to level up, earn gold and challenge other players.

My Ipswich Alerts Free weather alerts for residents of the Ipswich local government area.

1MW Reduce your environmental

impact with tips and challenges, exploring

topics such as food waste, energy consumption and lifestyle choices.


What’s in this issue

4 Have you found a baby bird? Aussie Backyard Bird Count

Small Creek welcomes big news Ipswich First Hundreds of native fish have been recorded in Small Creek for the first time since work started, returning the concrete drain to a naturalised creek. The discovery is significant because it means efforts to create a suitable habitat for wildlife have been successful. A total of 874 fish, most small in size, were recorded in May in the section between Briggs Road and Warwick Road. There were six native species recorded, including carp gudgeon, fly-specked hardyhead and longfin eel, and two pests. Council Natural Resources acting principal officer Phil Smith, said it was an “absolutely fantastic” result. “It means the water quality is good and that we have created an attractive habitat for them to make their way up from the Bremer River and Deebing Creek,” he said. “To go from having zero fish in the creek 12 months ago to recording an abundance of native fish confirms what we are doing is working. “One of the native species found was carp gudgeon which eats mosquitoes, and that’s good news because it means natural regulation of the mosquito population will occur.” Small Creek languished as a concrete channel for several decades before council embarked on a four-stage project to return it to a more natural state that restored important habitat, improved the quality of water entering the river system and improved flood protection for the nearby area. The project has included sustainable design with parts of the concrete channel saved from landfill and repurposed as features throughout the re-naturalised creek. Stages one and two between Briggs Road and Warwick road have been completed, and native trees and grasses planted along the waterway have taken hold and plenty of birds are taking advantage of the area. Mr Smith said design and community engagement work for stages three and four, which will stretch from Briggs Road to Whitehill Road, was expected to begin later this year. See Ipswich.qld.gov.au/smallcreek

5 Platypus populations plotted with DNA

6 Nature Conservation Grant helps with hard work

7 National Threatened Species Day

8 Xersicaping for a drought-tolerant garden

9 Resilience of our native flora to drought Ipswich is drought declared, what can you do?

10 Arnold Rieck walk

Passionate about the environment?

11 A festive season with less waste

12 Emergency Management – Get ready week

13 What’s on in Ipswich

14 Kids’ Corner:

Water Portals – Not just for Mario Summer water fun!

15 Kids’ Corner:

Things to do these holidays

16 At your Library

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Have you found a baby bird? Spring and early summer are traditionally the times we find baby birds on the ground. There are some


Identification: what kind of baby have you found? Some babies are born in a nest, without feathers (altricial). They need a parent’s help to survive the cold and to be fed until they can fly and look after themselves. An altricial baby can be put back in the nest if it can be reached. Otherwise, using a small container with holes in the base for drainage and lined with some soft material, place it in the fork of a tree close to the nest – watch for the parents to come and feed. If they do not feed the little one then it needs to go to a wildlife carer. Other babies are born with feathers and are able to self-feed from day one (precocial). They may still need protection from predators, so look for the parents before picking up the bird. 2 Does it need to be rescued? Many baby birds are taken into care as fledglings; they may just be learning to fly and they have landed on the ground. If the parents are there, then simply make sure the bird is out of harm’s way. 3 Is it injured? A bird with an injury needs a veterinarian. Most vets will take in an orphaned or injured bird, assess it, and then hand it on to a wildlife carer when the time is right. 4 Can you keep the cute little critter? No; it is illegal to take any native animal from the wild, even if it falls at your feet!

things to think about BEFORE picking up the little one...

For more information, visit: Orphan Native Animal Rear and Release Association Incorp. Onarr.org.au RSPCA: Phone – 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)

‘Baby Bird’ by K Connell, 2018 p’comp

Aussie Backyard Bird Count 21-27 October

It’s that time of year again, time to get out and get counting. Spring is the perfect time to spend 20 minutes outside, enjoying some fresh air and taking in some of the local birdlife. Download BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Bird Count app to participate in this year’s count – it doubles as a handy field guide in between events.

‘Are you serious!’ by K Hellmech, 2018 p’comp



Platypus populations plotted with DNA

It’s dawn in the middle of winter and you’re sitting still beside the murky water of a small creek.

You hear a plop and see some ripples in the water – maybe it was a platypus! Or maybe it was a water dragon or water rat. It’s hard to tell. Until recently, labour-intensive surveys like this involving multiple volunteers were the only way to record the elusive platypus. Now science has made it as simple as a water test to uncover vital information. Ipswich City Council and Wildlife Queensland have been working together to build a picture of our local platypus population with annual environmental DNA surveys since 2016. Water samples are taken at locations with anecdotal platypus sightings or good habitat. The efficient technology allows a number of waterways to be tested each year – in 2019 there were

Mr Cecil said the pattern of positive results over the four years of surveys showed the current Ipswich platypus population was small and vulnerable, probably transient, and their creeks low on water with the drought. Mr Cecil said actions that cared for our waterways also benefits platypus, such as limiting chemicals and rubbish pollution, removing weeds and preventing sediment. The platypus was identified as a priority species in council’s Nature Conservation Strategy 2015 . This DNA data will help council make informed decisions about future conservation strategies to improve platypus populations in our region. If you spot a platypus report it to platypus@wildlife.org.au

25 sites across the region sampled within two days. Those samples are sent to a Melbourne lab that has coded platypus DNA – shed through biological material such as skin or fluid – and can detect it in the water samples. A positive result is a strong confirmation that a platypus has been there recently. Wildlife Queensland project manager, Matt Cecil, said there had been some surprises. “(On) Goodna Creek and the Bremer River there are lovely spots with water flowing and beautiful habitat and there

are no platypus there,” he said. “Where we are seeing them, we

wouldn’t consider those to be excellent conditions – low water flow, degraded by weeds.”


Two years of hard work is starting to pay off for an East Ipswich couple who have overcome literal brick walls in their transformation of their Bremer River block. Nature Conservation Grant helps with hard work

who offer to come and do working bees. “And I think it’s just good that we can help out the Bremer River and clean it up on our spot, and eventually we can help other properties do it as well.” Emily said they had learned a lot in a short time, from weed identification and removal, through to dealing with the fill site that in some spots has brick walls just under the surface. This has included techniques such as no-dig planting, and planting on top of soil-filled hessian bags. Now there are masses of lomandra, bottlebrush, wattle, flame trees, river sheoaks and other native species – many of which were sourced from council’s nursery – starting to flourish. The improvements have also attracted

Thick infestations of castor oil weed and glycine vine on nearby land is a reminder just how far Peter and Emily have come. The narrow, sloping fill site has thrown up many challenges including bricks, broken clay pipes and flood debris but through a network of like-minded landowners, a council landholder partnership and Nature Conservation Grant, they have been inspired to plan substantial works. “We found ourselves down here with headlamps working between 7-10pm after work to get it done. We didn’t know we were green thumbs but now we are obsessed,” Emily said. “We’ve met a lot of people through it. There are a lot of people in the area

a greater variety of wildlife, particularly birds and lizards. “We could not have done this without council’s help,” Emily said. So far their Nature Conservation Grant has allowed them to buy and install jute matting for erosion, mulch and soil – and there is more to come. Council’s Nature Conservation Grants are open to landowners who have Voluntary Conservation Agreements with council. There are different types of agreement that provide tailored support for bushland, waterway and koala conservation. The Landholder

Partnerships Program is funded through the Enviroplan initiative.

See Ipswich.qld.gov.au/ landholderpartnerships


National Threatened Species Day

September is host to a wide variety of fauna related recognition days including National Threatened Species Day (7th), raising awareness of plants and animals at risk of extinction.

they become stuck. Some of these koala-friendly fencing techniques can also be adapted if you have a swimming pool, not just for koalas but other wildlife as well. Report koala sightings – especially if they are sitting on the ground, have been stationed in the same tree for a few days or look unwell. Drive carefully – especially during koala ‘busy’ season and at night. Be on particular look out at the locations listed below: Cunningham Highway through Ebbw Vale, Purga, Willowbank and Mutdapilly Warrego Highway through Brassall and Pine Mountain Ipswich – Boonah Road Ipswich – Rosewood Road Rosewood – Laidley Road Karrabin – Rosewood Road. RURAL

One of those threatened species, close to our hearts and close to Ipswich, is the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) , an Aussie icon known all over the world. The koala breeding season takes place at this time of year (August to February), so if you come across a koala it may be looking for a new friend. This time of year is quite busy for koalas, as the Spring/Summer period is also when the young from the previous year leave their mother. This means that it is also the busiest time of year for koala carers, as koalas can cross paths with cars and dogs.

There are a number of things you can do to help these eucalypt- munching marsupials:

Responsible pet ownership – dog attacks account for almost half of koala mortalities. This can occur when dogs are allowed to wander bushland or if a koala enters a yard with dogs. Keeping dogs confined when koalas are most active (dusk and dawn) and keeping dogs on leads, can reduce attacks. Koala-friendly fencing – this can help a koala escape a yard if


Centenary Highway through Springfield Redbank Plains Road through Goodna and Bellbird Park and Redbank Plains Alice Street, Goodna Formation Street, Carole Park Moffatt Street, Ipswich Kruger Parade, Redbank.


‘Into the trees’ by L Jarvis, 2016 p’comp

Resilience of our native flora to drought

Ipswich was recently drought declared, bringing the total area of drought- declared Queensland to more than 65 percent. Areas considered to be in drought are suffering from serious or severe rainfall deficiency, below the lowest ten percent of recorded rainfall across a given period.

natives are well-adapted to hot and dry conditions, there are a number of things that you can do; check out the article on the following page for tips to support and nourish native plants in your garden.

species have long, thin leaves with a lower surface area which reduces water loss. Many natives also have a waxy cuticle to prevent water loss. Some native species have leaves that face away from the sun to minimise sun exposure. Although many of our

Many plants endemic to Ipswich are adapted to low-rainfall conditions. The Queensland Blue Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) excretes saponins through its bark, which act as a natural wetting agent that assists the water in penetrating the soil. Many eucalyptus

Xeriscaping for a drought-tolerant garden We all want to know how to have a beautiful garden that doesn’t need constant watering.

As much as we love our gardens, most people are time poor and need their garden to be low maintenance. That is why James Hilyard is a big fan of xeriscape gardening. James Hilyard is Ipswich City Council’s Infrastructure and Environment Department Principal Officer (Parks and Sport). James is a horticulturalist, arborist and holds a masters degree in sustainability. Xeriscape gardening is a style of gardening that requires little or no additional water to be added to the landscape. Most importantly, in xeriscaping, is the selection of native, drought tolerant plants.

Placing plants in your garden in areas that suit their requirements is critical for success. In hot areas that get full sun you need to select hardy plants that can survive the hot, dry conditions. Choosing plants that require little to no additional watering will also save on your water bill. The Ipswich City Council free plant program has a great selection of drought tolerant, native plants that will thrive in your garden with limited watering. Check the plant tags and consult the nursery staff to help you select the right plants for your situation.

James Hilyard from Ipswich First article


‘Tea Tree Blossom’ by S Armytage, 2016 p’comp

Ipswich is drought declared, what can you do?

Tips for a more resilient garden in low rainfall periods:

1. Plan and design – take advantage of site conditions like aspect and prevailing winds, existing trees and shrubs and make plant selection and design decisions to best suit the site, such as planting what is locally native. Also, plant during the wet season where possible – in SEQ this is typically during the summer months. Plants will also thrive during the warmer months as they grow more effectively in warmer soils. During extremely dry conditions (as we experienced last summer), planting in autumn and/or spring can be more effective as evaporation rates are reduced, and manual watering will be more effective. 2. Improved soil – add composted organic matter to both increase

4. Plant groupings – put plants together that require similar amounts of water. This allows you to apply the minimum amount to keep them healthy. 5. Mulch – it will keep down weeds and retain water in the soil. However, ensure that you frequently break up the mulch to ensure that it does not form an impenetrable barrier. 6. Limit turf – large expanses of grass require large amounts of water. 7. Maintenance – regular maintenance such as pruning will increase plant vigour and health. Council’s free plant program has a great selection of drought tolerant native plants that will thrive in your garden with limited watering. See ipswich.qld.gov.au for more information.

dry, in a process called hydrophobia. Soil hydrophobia can also lead to soil nutrient losses. Course textured, sandy soils are the most susceptible to repellency. Hydrophobia doesn’t allow the water to reach the roots of plants, where it is needed most. Help the hydrophobic soils by adding organic matter. assistance during dry periods. Watering deeply, with thorough soakings on an occasional basis is preferred over regular light watering as it will encourage plant roots to deepen, and the soil will retain more moisture. Water during periods where minimal sunlight occurs to allow more water to be absorbed. Sprinklers can result in greater water wastage than direct water application or micro-irrigation and dripper systems. 3. Efficient irrigation – even our natives may need an extra bit of

water holding capacity and promote healthy plant growth. Soils can repel water if they become excessively


Arnold Rieck walk For 20 years, this corner of central Rosewood known as Masons Gully has been close to Arnold Rieck’s heart. Now, with the completion of a public walkway in his honour, this dedicated volunteer hopes that it will inspire others to care about the rare and highly-valued species of his precious Rosewood Scrub. Only the species that would have been found in the dry vine forest, that once stretched from Rosewood to Fernvale, were given a home in this patch of regenerated scrub – not a eucalypt, not a melaleuca, not a callistemon in sight. Instead, Arnold points out numerous species along ‘his’ walk, all hand-planted by himself or the volunteers who have helped over the years, such as brigalow, crows ash, rare Bailey’s cypress, red cedar and hoop pine. “It’s doing pretty well,” he said with pride. His personal favourite is the ‘original rosewood’, a long-lived weeping wattle that has masses of beautiful white blossoms. “I would regard that as one of the best wattles we have in Australia,” he said. There is so little of the Rosewood Scrub left – much of the original ecosystem was cleared with settlement – but Masons Gully provides a glimpse to the area’s unique floral diversity. “That’s the whole aim of this (walk),” Arnold said, “to get people walking through.” The Arnold Rieck Walk is part of John Street Reserve (Masons Gully), Rosewood.

Share your environmental and sustainability knowledge with others by volunteering with Ipswich City Council.

Passionate about the environment?

Christina McInally

Volunteers provide a valuable service to the community and Ipswich is proud to have many wonderful volunteers. Opportunities to volunteer with council exist at the Queens Park Environmental Education Centre and at multiple community events and activities such as a Waste Warrior. Come and join the team, sharing your passion for all things environmental. You can see all available volunteer roles at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/volunteering


A festive season with less waste We’ll soon start gearing up for the festive season (or winding down), as holiday decorations creep into stores earlier and earlier. However don’t let the December/January holiday season derail your good efforts in minimising waste; there are plenty of ways to still have wonderful gatherings without blowing the budget – in fact, you’re likely to save money and save extra contributions to landfill and greenhouse gases.

Single use items are basically like throwing your money straight in the bin!

Festive decorations can be a fun activity to do with the family. There are plenty of ideas on social media (such as Pinterest) that can keep the kids entertained for hours and decorate your home for the festive season – especially helpful during the hot summer school holidays. Using recycled materials first is also a winning idea.

Get creative with leftovers: omelets, pasta, pie fillings. An Ipswich green waste service, or home compost, will help you save other scraps from landfill.

Giving your gatherings an eco-overhaul might sound daunting but small changes make a big difference. Using plates and cutlery that aren’t single use is a great start. Share the cooking or organise who gets to cook and who gets to clean. Making a meal plan and shopping list will help eliminate buying too much and creating food waste (and money waste!). Remember – don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.

To save on washing up, use a small tag to label each person’s glass or cup to save a new item being used each time. Cloth napkins will also encourage people to use their napkin multiple times, rather than

We all know the battle of flies at an outdoor feast. Switch out the plastic wrap for bees wax wraps

or even a simple tea towel to cover food.

a ‘use once and throw away’ paper napkin.

When gift giving, opt for experiences rather than things. Memories will last far longer than the plastic toy we might be inclined to give, and it shows that thought has been put into the gift.

For more information on council’s green waste service, visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au/waste


‘Redbank crawler’ by R Skidmore, 2017 p’comp

Are you ready for a natural disaster? Get Ready Week

In Ipswich it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’, and we all need to be prepared for potential fire, flood or storm damage – especially in spring and summer months. There are four simple steps to help you and your family be ready. 1. Prepare your emergency plan 2. Prepare your 4. Tune into warnings

3. Prepare your home A lot of damage to your property can be avoided by timely home maintenance. But if a disaster strikes, do you know where your water, electricity and gas mains are located? Don’t forget your neighbours – can you help each other?

emergency and evacuation kits

Information is key to making good decisions in a disaster. Are your local stations in your radio’s memory? What are the most reputable places to get information on the Internet and social media? Council’s website has an Emergency Dashboard with vital information such as road conditions, weather warnings and power outages.

What are your family going to do if a disaster strikes? If you’re separated, how will you get in touch? An emergency plan will help everyone know exactly what to do – and don’t forget to think about your pets too.

Can you survive three days without power, access to food stores and with only the water in your house? Do you have copies of important documents to take with you? Emergency and evacuation kits are essential parts of any basic plan.

Get Ready Queensland Week is 13-19 October 2019.

Council has a range of localised resources to help you be prepared for disaster at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/emergency More information can also be found at Getready.qld.gov.au


WHAT’S ON IN IPSWICH Want to get outdoors and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of our environment? Here’s a selection of ideas.



1 Father’s Day Treat Dad to a day outside, now that spring has sprung.

10 – 17 National Pollinator Week Many plant species, many of the foods we eat, rely on insects and animals for pollination.

1 National Wattle Day A celebration of all things spring and all things Australian.

11 – 17 National Recycling Week For more information on what you can recycle in Ipswich, visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au/waste

7 National Threatened Species Day Australia has one of the highest rates of biodiversity loss in the world. What can you do to help this Threatened Species Day?

16 Garden of Eden Volunteer day at Cribb Park 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm For more information, visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au/volunteering

8 National Bilby Day Head over to the Ipswich Nature Centre to check out Australia’s answer to the Easter Bunny.

21 World Fisheries Day Much of the world’s population rely on fishing for income and sustenance. Support sustainable.

21 Garden of Eden Volunteer day at Cribb Park 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm For more information, visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au/volunteering 22 World Car Free Day A great opportunity to help reduce air pollution. Can’t go car free? Try parking further away and walking part of your trip. Every bit counts!


5 World Soils Day Soil degradation is seemingly invisible; healthy soils equals healthy humans.

11 International Mountain Day Mountains cover 22 per cent of the Earth’s land surface and billions of people rely on mountains for food, water and energy.

21 Sep – 7 Oct Kids Go Wild and Active Breaks spring holidays For more information, visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au



1 World Animal Day Aiming to make the world a better place for all animals.

13 – 24 Kids Go Wild summer holidays For more information, visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au

12 World Migratory Bird Day Aiming to highlight the importance of keeping major flyways free of litter. Protect birds: be the solution to plastic pollution. 19 Garden of Eden Volunteer day at Cribb Park 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm For more information, visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au/volunteering 20 – 26 National Water Week Water is valuable, and access to clean water is important, not just for humans but plants and animals also.

Get out and active with Active Parks

Did you know that council offers a broad range of free weekly physical activity classes held in the beautiful parks of Ipswich? The Active Parks Program runs during school terms and is completely free. Find out more at: Ipswich.qld.gov.au/activeparks or #activeipswich

21 – 27 Aussie Backyard Bird Count Get out and get counting. Download the app now!



Summer water fun! We all love some water fun to cool us down during the hot summer months but no one wants to waste water. Here’s an activity that can help you cool down without wasting our precious resources. The school is trialling the use of digital smart meters and is designed to make it easier for schools to monitor their water usage and identify leaks. Water consumption data can be monitored live by teachers and students from an online portal, with alerts if the smart meter detects irregular water use that could indicate a leak. This means issues are found early on, saving water and money. St Augustine’s College Year 12 student Elina Sawale said, “saving water is an important part of looking after the world around us.” “The portal will let us see how we can save water, and reminds us that pitching in just a little bit can make a difference.” St Augustine’s College in Augustine Heights is one of 15 schools selected for Queensland Urban Utilities’ school water conservation program.

Water Portals – Not just for Mario

What you’ll need: Ľ Ľ Empty soft drink bottles Ľ Ľ Scissors Ľ Ľ Sponges (upcycle some old ones!)

Ľ Ľ Safety gear e.g. goggles Ľ Ľ A small container of water

How to: Have a grown up help you cut a hole in each of your soft drink bottles. Cut the foam into small pieces so that it will fit through the hole in your bottles. Challenge a sibling or friend to throw the wet foam into the hole in your soft drink bottles. The more they miss, the more it’ll cool you down.


Things to do these holidays Are your adults telling you to put your devices down and get outside? There are plenty of things to these holidays that will get you outside and let you continue to use your gadgets. Check out the QuestaGame app – The Ipswich Eco-Hunt runs through the month of September. Snap pictures of Ipswich’s flora and fauna, challenge your friends, level up! Can you get the highest score? Nature Play passports – Keep your eyes peeled for the Ipswich Nature Play passport. Pop into the Queen Park Environmental Education Centre to grab your copy and check out what’s new and who’s who in the centre. Alternatively, there are plenty of excellent Nature Play activity ideas that can be accessed through their website – log on and check it out! Kids Go Wild and Active Breaks – Jump on to council’s Facebook events to check out what fun activities are scheduled that will get you out of the house and into the ‘wild’. Get in quick as places are limited and bookings essential.

‘View from the ridge’ by T Del Fabbro, 2017 p’comp


Ipswich City Council provides in excess of 8,500 hectares of open space for your enjoyment, with over 550 different parks and reserves in Ipswich. Queens Park was the first park to be developed in Queensland, more than 150 years ago.


Extraordinary insects: Weird, wonderful, indispensable, the ones who run our world. Sverdrup-Thygeson, Anne, 2019

Something for everyone. LIBRARY AT YOUR

Field guide to urban gardening: How to grow plants no matter where you live. Espiritu, Kevin 2019

Bees of Australia: A photographic exploration. Dorey, James 2018

Birdland: Jeffreys, Leila 2015

Have you visited your local library lately? There’s something for everyone at the Ipswich Libraries. Check out the line-up of events and activities at Ipswichlibraries.com.au

Ipswich Central Library 40 South Street, Ipswich QLD 4304 Redbank Plains Library Moreton Avenue, Redbank Plains QLD 4301 Redbank Plaza Library Redbank Plaza Shopping Centre, 1 Collingwood Drive, Redbank QLD 4301 Springfield Central Library Cnr Main Street & Sirius Drive, Orion Springfield Central Mobile Library Visit ipswichlibraries.com.au/visit/mobile-library for information regarding the Mobile Library’s locations.

By using EcoStar Offset to produce 3,000 copies of this newsletter, rather than a non-recycled paper, the environmental impact was reduced by:

147 kg of landfill 4,311 litres of water

253 kWh of energy

Ipswich City Council PO Box 191, Ipswich QLD 4305, Australia Phone (07) 3810 6666 Fax (07) 3810 6731 council@ipswich.qld.gov.au Ipswich.qld.gov.au

217 km travel in average European car

239 kg of wood

21 kg of CO 2

and greenhouse gases

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Source: Carbon Footprint data is calculated by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management in partnership with The CarbonNeutral Company and the Environmental Paper Network. Calculations are based on a comparison between recycled paper versus virgin fibre paper produced at the same mill and on the latest European BREF data (virgin fibre paper) available. Results are obtained according to technical information and subject to change.

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