Colorado Parks and Wildlife to Offer Up to $1 Million in Grants to Help Reduce Human-Bear Conflicts Across the State

Bear trash. Photo DJ Hannigan

In an effort to help communities co-exist with bears, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is pleased to announce a unique funding opportunity aimed at reducing human-bear conflicts.

CPW will be offering up to $1 million that it will distribute through a grant process this spring to be used on projects that reduce conflicts. Funding for the program was made available through House Bill 21-1326, which passed the General Assembly and was signed by the Governor last year. Local governments, NGOs, HOAs, community groups, businesses, tribes, universities, and individuals are all eligible to receive funding. Applicants can apply for grants between $50,000 and $500,000.

“This is a huge opportunity for local governments and partners to work with Parks and Wildlife to reduce human-bear conflicts to keep communities and property safer and better protect Colorado’s iconic black bear populations,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “I look forward to seeing positive impact from the innovative solutions that are developed through these new projects.”

Projects should have local support, be designed to prevent conflict with bears, and have tangible outcomes with realistic timelines. Local support can be demonstrated through cost-sharing, in-kind contributions, letters of support, participation in public meetings, membership in local organizations, and partnerships.

“This is a unique funding opportunity we are providing to help communities reduce human-bear conflicts,” said Kristin Cannon, Deputy Regional Manager for CPW’s Northeast Region, who is helping lead this effort. “High priority projects will model solutions to conflict, be innovative, are replicable by other communities, involve multiple partners and fill a need in an area with high conflict.”

From 2019-21, CPW received over 14,000 reports of sightings and conflicts with bears. Nearly one-third of those 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 the impact on bear populations and improve public safety.

Download the application and submit no later than May 6 at 5 pm. Read the full Community Grant Program Plan, including timeline, requirements, when funds need to be used by and more.

Need help applying or have questions? Contact Cannon by email at kristin.cannon@state.co.us, or by phone at 303-291-7313. Potential applicants can also attend a virtual informational meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 24 from 6-8 pm.

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