Mount Dora, Lake and Marion counties win funding for bear-resistant trash cans

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is awarding a total of $500,000 to 10 communities to help them reduce human-bear conflicts.

BearWise funding will be used to share the cost of bear-resistant trash cans, dumpsters and other equipment that will keep bears out of trash in neighborhoods and parks.

Lake County will receive $25,000 to buy bear-resistant trash cans to sell at a discounted price to county residents. Marion County will receive $5,000 for the same purpose.

In addition, Mount Dora will receive $18,000 to buy bear-resistant trash cans for city residents.

The Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott provided $500,000 this year to the FWC to cost-share with local governments in areas with high levels of human-bear conflicts. At least 60 percent of the funding had to go to communities with BearWise ordinances that require trash be kept secure from bears in all or parts of their jurisdictions.

Since 2007, a total of $2.1 million of BearWise funding has been provided to local governments. Over $1.4 million of this was provided with support from the Legislature and Gov. Scott and $680,000 from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida using proceeds of the Conserve Wildlife license plate