Town of West Milford to Receive 200K to Purchase Bear Resistant
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 neighborhoods."
"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.
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
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
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 the 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