Volusia County, FL – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has grant money to help reduce problems between people and bears. Volusia County is one of several to apply for funding. FWC says the requests total $935,181 but the Florida Legislature only approved $500,000 for the BearWise grants.
The funding can offset some of the costs for residents and businesses in purchasing bear-resistant trash cans and dumpsters. The State of Florida has placed a condition on the funding in that 60 percent of the funding goes to communities with BearWise ordinances in place. Volusia County does not have such an ordinance.
There is a criteria that communities need to meet, such as the number of households in an area that has seen a high number of human-bear conflicts, the likelihood the funding used will result in a community-wide reduction of bear problems and whether the applicant (local government) can demonstrate the need for bear-resistant equipment in their jurisdiction.
The FWC handed out over $500,000 in BearWise funding to seven counties and two homeowner’s associations in 2017. A total of 66 percent of that money went to communities with BearWise ordinances in place.
FWC staff will continue to meet with counties, cities and homeowner’s associations in a continuing effort to enact BearWise trash ordinances. FWC expects that the implementation of such ordinances, coupled with the grant funding will result in less person meets bear incidents.
FWC plans to announce the awards in October. If you’d like more information on Florida’s black bear, click here.