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Twelve Counties Get Money to Reduce Conflicts With Bears, But Flagler Is Not On the List

| December 13, 2016

florida bears

Trash talking. (FWC)

State money was spread across 12 counties on Tuesday to help reduce the potential for conflicts between Florida’s bear and human populations. Volusia and Putnam counties will receive a combined $98,000. Flagler County will receive no grant. 


Most of the $825,000 in “BearWise” program money will go to lower the cost of bear-resistant trash cans for residents, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a release announcing the grants.

“Today’s funding announcement is innovative conservation work in action and serves as an important step forward for Florida communities that are working to address this serious problem,” commission Chairman Brian Yablonski said in prepared statement. “By continuing to strengthen our partnerships with local governments and neighborhoods, we are helping give Floridians the tools needed to reduce interactions with bears.”

The announcement came six months after the commission voted against holding a bear hunt this year, instead focusing on efforts to reduce interactions between bears and humans.

A 2015 hunt was highly controversial, but supporters have argued that hunting is one way to manage bear populations and to reduce potentially dangerous bear-human interactions. The two-day 2015 hunt, the first in the state in two decades, resulted in 304 bears being killed.

Since then, the state bear population has been estimated at more than 4,000, a considerable increase from the 1970s, when there were 300 to 500 black bears in Florida and the animals were placed on the state’s list of threatened species. Bears were removed from the list in 2012.

Bear-resistant containers cost more than standard trash and recycling bins. A traditional 95-gallon container may sell for about $60, while a more-durable, similarly sized container with a bear-resistant lid is marketed around $200.

Seminole, Lake, Orange and Santa Rosa counties each will get $150,000 for the program.

Money is also going to local governments and homeowners’ groups in Collier, Franklin, Gulf, Leon, Marion, Putnam, Volusia and Wakulla counties.

The Volusia County cities of Daytona Beach and DeBary are each slated to receive $20,000.

Early this year, the Legislature allocated $500,000 to the state agency for bear-proofing measures from money raised through fees paid by hunters for the 2015 hunt. The other $325,000 was raised through sales of “Conserve Wildlife” license plates.

Most of the money requires local governments to match the state funds and to approve ordinances regarding the maintenance of residential and business trash.

The release from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the agency will seek additional money from the Legislature in 2017 to maintain the conflict-reduction program.

“As we take this important step forward, we need to be mindful that efforts to implement our comprehensive bear management plan will need to continue in earnest as our bear populations continue to grow and thrive across Florida,” commission Executive Director Nick Wiley said in a prepared statement.

Earlier this month, the commission released a pair of educational videos intended to assist people living near bear habitats about how to co-exist with the animals.

“Ideally, black bears live in forests far from human development where they forage for natural foods like acorns and insects,” the narrator of the video says in one. “Unfortunately, as human populations expand, bear habitat is lost.”

The cost-share bear conflict reduction funding awards:

Collier County – $17,499 – County Parks and Recreation will receive $4,899 to buy bear-resistant trash cans for three parks and preserves, and Farm Worker Village Neighborhood Association will receive $12,600 to modify 591 regular trash cans to make them bear-resistant.

Franklin County – $3,400 – The county will receive $2,400 and the City of Carrabelle will receive $1,000 to modify regular trash cans to make them bear-resistant for residents in the southern portion of the county.

Gulf County – $25,422 – The county will receive $25,422 to modify regular trash cans to make them bear-resistant for residents in the southern portion of the county.

Lake County – $150,000 – The county will receive $150,000 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost. The county has an ordinance that requires trash be kept secure.

Leon County – $30,000 – The county will receive $30,000 to modify regular trash cans to make them bear-resistant for residents and reinforced dumpster lids for businesses in the western portion of the county.

Marion County – $22,000 – The county will receive $22,000 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost in areas experiencing human-bear conflicts.

Orange County – $150,000 – The county will receive $150,000 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost in the northwestern portion of the county, which has an ordinance that requires trash be kept secure.

Putnam County – $18,000 – The county will receive $18,000 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost in areas experiencing human-bear conflicts.

Santa Rosa County – $150,000 – The county will receive $150,000 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost in the southern portion of the county, which has an ordinance that requires trash be kept secure.

Seminole County – $159,000 – The county will receive $150,000 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost in the western portion of the county, which has an ordinance that requires trash be kept secure. Springs Landing Homeowner’s Association, which is in the western portion of the county, will be awarded $9,000 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost.

Volusia County – $80,000 – The county will receive $40,000 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost, and the cities of Daytona and DeBary will receive $20,000 each to provide the same for their residents.

Wakulla County – $19,679 – The county will receive $19,679 to provide bear-resistant trash cans to residents at a discounted cost.

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5 Responses for “Twelve Counties Get Money to Reduce Conflicts With Bears, But Flagler Is Not On the List”

  1. Veteran says:

    Lived here 16 years and not seen a bear.

  2. palmcoaster says:

    Lived here since 1991 and a bear momma was killed two blocks from my house in Palm Coast Parkway around 5 AM one spring few years ago, by probably a speeding driver. The poor cubs probably died of starvation…That we do not see them doesn’t mean they are not around. No bear hunts please, as they were here first.

  3. Flagler Citizen says:

    We live in Daytona North and have had some bears terrorizing our trash cans. They can be persistent creatures, for sure.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Reduce Conflicts With Bears ?

    Bears don’t do mediation very well…………stop leaving food out, and the Bears will go away.

  5. YankeeExPat says:

    Reduce Conflicts With Bears ?

    Bears don’t do mediation very well…………stop leaving food out, and the Bears will go away.

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