PROGRAM TO MANAGE BEAR COMPLAINTS
Town of West Milford
to Receive 200K to Purchase Bear Resistant Garbage Cans
(05/79) TRENTON -- New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today presented
West Milford Township, Passaic County with a $200,000 grant to
purchase bear resistant garbage cans and help minimize bear problems
throughout the state. Township officials plan to acquire the cans
in the fall, a time when bear nuisance complaints in West Milford
are at their highest.
"One of the best ways to discourage nuisance bears is by
storing garbage properly," said Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.
"These bear resistant cans will not only help reduce bear
garbage problems in West Milford, it will also provide useful
data regarding the effectiveness of using bear resistant garbage
cans to keep bears in their natural habitat-away from residential
"These cans will help us better manage our bear problems
and improve the quality of life for West Milford residents,"
said West Milford Township Mayor Joseph Di Donato.
Cans will be distributed to every household free of charge in
six West Milford neighborhoods where bear incidents have been
particularly high in recent years. The remainder of the funding
will go toward subsidizing the purchase of cans for the entire
municipality. Residents will be able to purchase bear resistant
garbage cans for a nominal fee.
"Public education and responsible garbage management are
among the many important tools we need to employ in the comprehensive
management of our black bear population in New Jersey," said
Martin Mchugh, Director of DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife.
"This pilot project will help evaluate the benefits of community
wide education and garbage management."
The Department will compare bear nuisance data in the test communities
with data gathered from "control" communities, that
is, communities that are not saturated with bear resistant garbage
cans. Before and after surveys will allow DEP to evaluate the
effectiveness of the cans as part of a comprehensive strategy
for minimizing bear-human interactions in towns and communities
throughout New Jersey.
The pilot program also includes an educational component to inform
West Milford residents about how to live in bear country. Important
facts about black bear behavior, habitat needs and ways of avoiding
conflict will be distributed to residents in town mailings.
Joining the Commissioner at today's event were Councilman Joseph
Elcavage, Township Administrator Richard Kunze and other Town
In 2003 and 2004, there were 198 bear damage and nuisance complaints
reported in West Milford.
To date, DEP has trained more than 600 law enforcement personnel
from towns and public agencies in bear response protocol and techniques.
To learn more about New Jersey's black bears, visit DEP's Web
site at: www.njfishandwildlife.com.