FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 15, 2022
Gov. Polis and Colorado Parks and Wildlife Take Action to Save Communities Money, Keep Coloradans Safe, & Protect Colorado’s Iconic Wildlife
- Today, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, joined by First Gentleman Marlon Reis, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), and community leaders, announced support for local communities, municipalities, businesses and nonprofit organizations for projects to minimize human-bear conflicts, saving communities money and protecting Coloradans’ health and safety.
“We are making sure that more people have the tools and resources needed to keep people and property safe, and save money, while protecting Colorado’s iconic black bear population,”
said Gov. Polis. “These projects like bear-proof garbage cans make our communities safer, save people money, and help protect Colorado’s iconic wildlife.”
Property damage caused by bears cost communities money each year, and this action will help save communities money and ensure humans and wildlife can stay safe and healthy.
Governor Polis signed
HB 21-1326 sponsored by Rep. Barbara McLachlan, Rep. Perry Will and Senator Tammy Story provided funding for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and CPW, which included $1 million for native species conservation, to be distributed to local communities with the goal of reducing human-bear conflicts.
To accomplish this, CPW created this grant program and invited stakeholders from across the state to apply by the May 6 deadline. CPW received 29 applications in this first-of-its-kind offering of grant funding available across Colorado. The 29 applicants received spanned all four regions of Colorado. Eleven different projects were selected to receive funding.
“All of the applications had merit and potential,” said Kristin Cannon, Deputy Regional Manager with CPW’s Northeast Region.
“It was encouraging to see so many impactful proposals, but made for some difficult choices for the advisory board.”
Grant applications were reviewed by CPW staff with an external advisory board. The advisory board included two CPW staff members along with eight external members with experience in bear conflict, grants and wildlife-community engagement.
The following projects received grant funding:
CPW - B-11 Eagle & Roaring Fork Valley Bear Conflict Reduction Grant
The Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys have historically sustained the highest numbers of human-bear conflicts in Colorado. Funding from this grant program will be utilized by CPW Area 8 staff to partner with matching funds from municipalities, counties and other stakeholders to coordinate regional solutions toward reducing human-bear conflict. The goal of the project is to unify communities and provide a regional strategy toward working together and providing meaningful, long-term solutions to the ever growing human-bear conflicts within both valleys. CPW’s Area 8 staff continue to explore new methods to address these issues including efforts in education, research, bear-resistant infrastructure, improvements within the local communities, hazing and increased enforcement for violations.
Bear Smart Durango - Greater Durango Human-Bear Challenge
Partners Bear Smart Durango and the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado applied for funding on behalf of the Bear Working Group with a partner match and in-kind contribution of $297,135 for a total estimated project cost of $503,932. Their project is aimed at infrastructure and personnel. The infrastructure side will provide all-metal bear-resistant trash containers, food storage lockers, and conflict mitigation materials. The personnel aspect will create a Bear Enforcement Officer and a Fruit Gleaning Coordinator. The grant will cover the first two years for the Bear Enforcement Officer, with La Plata County and other partners assuming expenses by year three. The Fruit Gleaning Coordinator will expand the capacity of this existing position to develop and implement an on-demand, bear mitigation gleaning strategy.
Boulder County - Boulder County Human Bear Conflict Reduction Program
Boulder County and its partners, the Town of Jamestown and Town of Lyons, hope to provide tangible deterrent material to residents that might otherwise be out of reach financially. Boulder County Parks & Open Space (BCPOS) will act as the fiscal agent and grant administrator in partnership with Jamestown and Lyons to purchase proven bear-deterrent solutions with the focus on addressing bears that have habituated into the community. Elements include providing heavily subsidized bear-resistant trash containers and electric fencing kits for purchase. The hope is that residents will participate more readily if the product is affordable. In doing so, BCPOS supports the ongoing actions of rural and mountain residents to reduce conflicts with bears stemming from attractants such as unsecured garbage.
Purgatoire Watershed Partnership - Purgatoire Watershed Community Human-Bear Conflict Reduction Project
This project consists of six components aimed at reducing human-bear conflict in the Purgatoire watershed through a significant reduction in bear access to human trash as well as to improperly protected domestic animals. Project components include (1) Bear-resistant trash cans installed on local City and County public lands, (2) “How To” directions added to new and existing bear-resistant trash cans on public lands (City, County, State Parks), (3) Community Innovation & Individualized Support Project (CI&ISP), (4) Community & Youth Brainstorm & Education Workshops, (5) Developing New Strategies for Education & Outreach, and (6) Site Visits & “Bear-Resistant” Makeovers.
Mineral County - Bear-Proof Dumpsters
Mineral and Hinsdale County are destination places for a variety of summer and fall visitors from across the country. Many of these visitors have summer vacation homes in small housing communities or rent cabins at their favorite guest ranches across the two counties. These communities/ranches provide a central dumpster station for their residents/guests. This guest benefit has become very problematic because there are often bears attracted to the garbage deposited. The focus of this project will be to provide high-quality bear-proof dumpsters to these communities/ranches in both counties for a minimal investment by the communities/ranches. The goal is to eliminate the ability of the bears getting a "taste" of civilization and continue the education of residents and visitors on proper bear etiquette everywhere, not just the dumpster area.
JeffCo Bear Coalition - Evergreen Human-Bear Conflict Reduction
Evergreen Park & Recreation District (EPRD) and Kittredge Civic Association are project partners contributing cash and in-kind support with the JeffCo Bear Coalition. The goals of the project are both short term and longer term: First, in the short term, Phase 1 will secure and install 30 trash and recycling receptacles in all Evergreen Park & Recreation parks to immediately reduce conflicts while increasing public awareness and interest. Phase 1 will also train community organizers on effective tools for community engagement and political action. Once the receptacle installation and leader training is complete, the next steps of the project (Phase 2) will be community engagement through HOAs, the park & rec district, and other community organizations, in tandem with advocacy for effective laws and ordinances at the county and local level.
Town of Green Mountain Falls - Green Mountain Falls Human-Bear Conflict Reduction Program
The Town of Green Mountain Falls is a heavily forested area and shares boundaries with miles of open space with public and private property. Each spring as the forest comes to life, bears make their way into Green Mountain Falls' neighborhoods and business district looking for easy morsels after a long winter. With the influx of additional visitors and residents, the Town has struggled to manage the conflict. The proposed project would include 10 additional wildlife receptacles for parks, public spaces and trail heads and signage to promote bear awareness throughout the community. Additionally, the proposed project would include the installation of a dumpster enclosure that would be located within the commercial district to support our local businesses.
Town of Frisco - Frisco Main Street Dumpster Enclosure Program
The Town of Frisco has an area with a dumpster with recycling toters located at Frisco Town Hall at 1 Main Street, which primarily serves Frisco Main Street public trash and recycling needs as a central drop-off point for Frisco Public Works. There are residential units surrounding this area, and the potential for human-bear interactions is significant. Building a secure dumpster, recycling, and composting enclosure that serves this area will greatly decrease the potential to attract bears to this area and will subsequently reduce the possibility of human-bear interactions in the core of Frisco's Main Street business area and the surrounding residential areas.
Community Fruit Rescue
Community Fruit Rescue is a nonprofit organization based in Boulder. This project aims to expand Community Fruit Rescue’s capacity and increase the number of fruit harvests by 25%, from 84 harvests in 2021 to 120 harvests during our 12-week season in 2022, by developing a “Bear Conflict” branch that will quickly harvest fruit in urban areas of Boulder where bears are active; create “DIY Harvest Kits” that make urban fruit gleaning easier and more accessible for volunteers and renters; and strengthen existing infrastructure to ensure the longevity of the organization. Additionally, a comprehensive messaging kit that shares detailed information about living with black bears and other wildlife will be shared by harvest leaders directly to volunteers and homeowners.
Utah’s Sanitation - Utah’s Sanitation Bear Resistant Dumpsters
Utah’s Sanitation is a trash removal business with a 25-plus-year history in the small, remote mountain town of Lake City. Despite best efforts working with their local CPW wildlife officer, the small tourist-based community continues to experience annual human-bear conflict as bears regularly get into dumpsters and trash cans. Utah’s Sanitation will use funds to purchase bear-resistant dumpsters for its small, local trash removal business. Over the past five years, more than 175 bear-resistant trash cans have been distributed throughout town, but the next step is replacing the larger dumpsters with bear-resistant versions.
Town of Dolores - Town of Dolores Bear Proof Containers
The town of Dolores is the lead on this project and is partnering with the City of Cortez and the Town of Rico. They requested 75 percent funding for 26 bear-resistant containers - 21 in Dolores, two in the City of Cortez at the airport and three in the Town of Rico for use in their parks.
Human-Bear Conflict Reduction Advisory Board
Stewart Breck, USDA Wildlife Services and Colorado State University
Lew Carpenter, National Wildlife Federation
Erin Edge, Defenders of Wildlife
John Gale, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Joanna Lambert, University of Colorado
Brend Lee, Colorado Bear Coalition
Rebecca Niemiec, Colorado State University and the Colorado Department of Agriculture
Tina White, Town of Snowmass
Mark Vieira, CPW Carnivore & Furberer Program Manager
Jim Guthrie, CPW Grants Administrator