Tuesday, July 25, 2017

State of Florida providing money to reduce human/bear conflicts

The state of Florida has money for local governments to help reduce human bear conflicts around the state.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has about $515,000 in available BearWise funding this year.

The funding will offset the costs for residents and businesses to use bear-resistant equipment to secure their garbage from bears.

Governments with bearwise rules in place will take precedence on receiving the money, though other areas will be allowed to apply and could be funded is there is enough money available.

Franklin County does not currently have a bear ordinance in place, but we do have a problem of bears coming into neighborhoods.

Most bears are drawn to residential areas by the promise of easy food in unprotected garbage cans and pet food bowls.

Most of the time the biggest problem is overturned trash cans, but there have also been a few bear attacks in Franklin County.

Last year, the FWC distributed $825,000 in BearWise funding to 11 counties, three cities, and two homeowners associations to purchase 4,000 bear-resistant trash cans, 2,500 sets of hardware to secure regular trash cans, and 40 dumpsters modified to keep bears out.

Over 70 percent of funding was provided to local governments with BearWise ordinances.