Colorado Parks and Wildlife
In an effort to help communities coexist with bears, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will continue its Human-Bear Conflict Reduction Community Grant Program, providing local Colorado communities with financial resources to support efforts that reduce human-bear conflicts.
CPW will be offering up to $1 million that it will distribute through a competitive grant process this spring to be used on projects that reduce conflicts with bears in local communities. This grant program strives to foster innovative solutions to human-bear conflict that can be replicated in other parts of the state and bolster those efforts in all communities in Colorado.
Last year, funding for the program was made available through House Bill 21-1326, which passed the General Assembly and was signed by Gov. Jared Polis in 2021. This program was so successful that CPW decided to continue the program and fund it.
Local governments, nongovernmental organizations, homeowners’ associations, community groups, businesses, tribes, universities and individuals are all eligible to receive funding. Applicants can apply for grants between $50,000 and $500,000.
“Human-bear conflict measures cannot be successful without collaboration between local communities, wildlife managers and individuals,” said CPW Grant Manager Travis Long. “Fortunately, CPW saw success with this grant program last year with many communities taking advantage of the opportunities this funding provided and implementing projects to help reduce conflicts with bears.”
The goal of the Human-Bear Conflict Reduction Community Grant Program is to reduce conflicts between local communities and black bears. Characteristics of projects that help meet this goal include:
• Reducing the availability of attractants to black bears in communities experiencing human-bear conflict or disincentivizing black bears from entering areas of high conflict (i.e. hazing).
• Having local community support or detailed plans to build local support.
• Cost-effective investments that have the potential to last beyond the funding time frame.
• Utilize proven techniques for preventing conflict or explore an innovation with promise to prevent conflict.
How to apply
Applications are available at https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/pages/LivingwithWildlifeWildBears.aspx and are due by 5 p.m. on May 5. For questions or application assistance, please contact Long at email@example.com. Successful grant recipients will be announced in June.
View the 2022 grant recipients to see what types of projects were selected during the competitive grant process at https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/News-Release-Details.aspx?NewsID=3562.
Wildlife managers estimate that Colorado has between 17,000 and 20,000 bears, and the population is stable and growing.
“Bear behavior is consistent and predictable,” said Area Wildlife Manager Tim Kroening. “They spend all day looking for food and most conflicts with humans can be traced back to a human-provided food source like trash and bird seed. That is why humans are the focal point for wildlife managers when trying to reduce conflicts with bears.”
From 2019-2022, CPW received more than 18,000 reports of sightings and conflicts with bears. Nearly one-third of those reports involved trash cans and dumpsters as an attractant, which will be a target area CPW looks to address when awarding grants.
Other constant sources of conflict include bird feeders, livestock, bears accessing open garages and other human-originated items that are left unsecured.
Increasing human-bear conflicts can lead to property damage and increased demands on time and effort to respond to the conflicts by CPW and local government personnel. Expanding existing conflict reduction efforts or developing new approaches will help reduce impacts on bear populations and community resources, and improve public safety.
Learn more about CPW’s other grant programs at https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/GrantPrograms.aspx.