County adopts new trash bin regs for bears |

County adopts new trash bin regs for bears

Cliff Thompson

VAIL<When Eagle County1s black bears emerge from their dens late next month, they1ll be protected by some new laws aimed at helping them avoid humans by modifying human behavior.The new regulations don1t address existing development, which has proven problematic for some wildlife, but they change the way special-use permits are issued for future developments. The primary aim of the regulations is preventing bear-human conflict by creating secure trash containers.3The regulations were developed after the Division of Wildlife approached the county last summer with concerns about the number of bears they were getting calls on, said Eagle County Senior Planner Rebecca Leonard.Last year and the year before, wildlife officers and law enforcement officials dealt with hundreds of bear complaints. When bears and humans meet, the consequences often are fatal to the bears.The new regulations take aim on trash containers. With more and more development taking place in bear habitat, the regulations aim at removing human food sources from a hungry bear1s diet.Refuse containers and trash bins in these new developments must be wildlife-proof, meaning they1re able to deter access by wildlife.3It1s a good step, said Division of Wildlife Officer Bill Andree. 3It will have a beneficial impact. Where it has been done elsewhere there has been a remarkable decrease in human-bear conflicts. It will have beneficial impact.One additional regulation being considered by the county that will have potential effect on existing developments is the creation of a wildlife-feeding ordinance.Bear human interactions in Eagle have increased as more and more homes are built in prime bear habitat. Most of those happen in the summer and fall. Bears hibernate in the winter and emerge from their dens in late April.Removing potential food sources for bears will reduce the number of potentially dangerous bear-human encounters. To date there have been no recorded human fatalities by bears.The regulations will also help reduce interactions with raccoons, skunks, coyotes and other animals that could be drawn near a home by unsecured trash.Another land-use regulation enacted allows the Division of Wildlife to review a development for potential impact on migration corridors, winter ranges, roost and nest sites and habitat for protected species. The DOW1s recommendations will be used for considerations by county review agencies.

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