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Bear Smart Durango 2012 ANNUAL REPORT

A chapter in the book “Great Colorado Bear Stories,” by author Laura Pritchett, featured the efforts of Bear Smart Durango and came out in spring 2012. Photo: Riverbend Publishing

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Table of Contents

Purpose of this Report.......................................................................................... 3 Introduction........................................................................................................... 3 Resources Bear-Resistant Container Loaner Program........................................................ 3 Private Property Conflict Response.................................................................... 4 Outreach and Events Spring Bear Wake-Up Social................................................................................ 6 Bear Smart Newspaper Columns......................................................................... 7 Bear Hikes............................................................................................................... 7 Fruit Tree Outreach............................................................................................... 8 Electric Fencing Outreach.................................................................................... 8 Community Presentations.................................................................................... 8 Elementary Schools Program............................................................................... 8 Special Events Booth............................................................................................. 9 Kroegers Bear Paws............................................................................................. 10 Educating Policy Makers.................................................................................... 10 Fort Lewis College............................................................................................... 10 Media and Social Media Outreach.................................................................... 10 Other Activities.................................................................................................... 11 Monitoring A.M. Trash Monitoring And Reporting........................................................... 11 Bear Sightings & Incidents................................................................................. 11 Remote Camera Project...................................................................................... 14 Special Projects Bear Working Group........................................................................................... 15 Resident Bear Photos.......................................................................................... 15 2013 Plans ........................................................................................................... 16

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Purpose of this Report e purpose of this report is to document, summarize and evaluate outreach and education implemented each year within our area. is document will serve as a basis for comparison between years and aid in monitoring progress toward the organization’s mission to promote coexistence between people and bears within the greater Durango, CO area. e report also summarizes efforts, accomplishments, lessons learned and goals of BSD. e following report covers the broad framework for each “resource” BSD facilitated for 2012 including property consultations, outreach and events, and monitoring.

Introduction Bear Smart Durango (BSD) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to reducing human and bear conflict in the greater Durango area by addressing the root cause of conflict - reducing human foods that attract and create problem bears in the first place. We believe it is the responsibility of residents who choose to live in bear habitat to learn to respectfully coexist with bears - for their own safety, and for the safety of bears. We work to foster a better understanding and appreciation of black bears, educate residents on coexisting with black bears, advocate for meaningful policy changes to reduce human-bear conflict, make bearproofing more available in our area and offer real solutions in avoiding conflict. Our proactive efforts are aimed not only at saving the lives of bears, but creating a safer environment for community members who live or recreate in bear habitat. Bear Smart Durango began in spring 2003 as the educational component of a community process called the Bear and Trash Roundtables. Community Foundation Serving SW Colorado serves as our fiscal agent of record.

Resources Bear-Resistant Container Loaner Program Albeit on a very small scale, Bear Smart Durango (BSD) began to administer a Bear-Resistant Container Loaner Program in 2012 in La Plata County. is program will allow community members to check out bear-resistant containers for free and on an indefinite basis. Various models of containers would be available for loan for trash storage and to store backyard attractants such as grains, pet food, or ripe fruit. Community members would be able to purchase the containers at anytime and program donations would be used to purchase additional containers for loan in the community. A 55-gallon metal drum with a locking lid was graciously donated by Brennan Oil and loaned out to a family in Vallecito aer a number of incidents of bears getting into their trash, even entering their home to do so. BSD ordered a 30-gallon Bearicuda Bin and immediately loaned it out to a homeowner off Florida Road to store horse feed aer bears had broken into her shed. A remote camera set up at the location showed bears trying to get into the 3

Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


container, but none succeeded, including a female with her three cubs. As that bear issue subsided, the container was loaned to a resident in town that had a bear coming into her yard for unused fruit. In 2012, 3 bear-resistant containers were loaned out to community members. e program in 2012 was limited by funding. BSD hopes to greatly expand this vital program in 2013 assuming funding can be acquired. Plans are to purchase (22) Solid Waste Systems bear-resistant trash containers and (10) 30-gallon Bearicuda bear-resistant containers in addition to (5) Gallagher M150 electric fence chargers for residents experiencing bear problems in backyard chicken and fruit tree operations. Specific areas in the county will be targeted as areas of concentration for this program, based on historic, chronic human-bear issues. Conflict

Response Result

1

Bear in shed for horse grain

No bears gained access to container and eventually moved on

2

Bear into home for trash, repeatedly in trash

No bears gained access to container and eventually moved on

3

Bear caused fence damage in town, in yard for ripe fruit

Bear quit coming onto property

Remote camera photos from 2012 of bears trying without success to access horse feed in a bear-resistant container.

Private Property Conflict Response Residents of La Plata County may have distinct challenges for securing and removing bear attractants including trash, bird feeders, gardens, livestock, fruit trees, pet foods, etc. around their properties. BSD, in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, focuses on a spectrum of private property projects geared toward providing interested property owners materials, information and conflict response to create site specific solutions to securing bear attractants and minimizing risk of bear conflict. In 2012, in addition to phone and email consultations with residents, BSD provided a number of onsite property consultations for residents of CR 245, Sortais Road, Chelsea Acres, CR 250, Vallecito Lake, Trimble Lane, City of Durango, May Day and Hermosa. Typical consultations are informal conversations to help brainstorm ideas for strategies that would allow landowners to lower their risk of bear conflict. A wonderful opportunity for these conversations comes upon delivery of a bear-resistant container. e goal of the consultations is to consider bear attractant security without ignoring the landowner’s preferences. BSD’s collaboration with private property owners may come by a variety of means such as landowner interest or response to a bear conflict, providing advice on securing bear attractants: bringing in bird 4

Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


feeders at night, loan of a bear-resistant container, removal of unused fruit, assistance in building an electric fence to safeguard stored livestock grains, and installing remote motion sensor activated cameras to monitor bear conflict are examples of BSD collaboration with private property owners.

2012 Conflict Response

Program Type

# of Visits

Property consult

24

BSD private property consulting outreach including shed, fence and hot tub damage prevention.

Outreach and Events Bear Smart Durango sponsors a number of outreach efforts and events to bring awareness of our mission of reducing human-bear conflicts in the greater Durango area. BSD debuted a new community event - the Spring Bear Wake-Up Social – in 2012. ese events provide a forum for experts in the field of humanbear conflict to share the most up-to-date findings and methods with our community. e focus of these efforts was to provide information on bear biology and behavior, human-bear conflict, bear spray, safety for residents, bear-proofing methods, bear habitat and seasonal food uses, and best practices for living with bears.

Spring Bear Wake-Up Social Bear Smart Presentations Bear Smart Kid Schools Program Special Events Booth Frosty Pines Bear Smart Program

Program Type

# People Reached

Community festival

200

Presentation

117

Classroom

596

Special event

400 +

Outdoor Classroom

10 Total

5

1323

Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Spring Bear Wake-Up Social A new outreach and educational effort that BSD undertook this past season was the Spring Bear Wake-Up Social, held on May 10 at the Durango Discovery Museum. e first annual educational and awareness event was designed as a reminder to residents that bears were out of hibernation and for them to begin practicing Bear Smart measures. e theme for the event was: “e bears are awake. Are you?” Live music was provided by Darcy Cole and food and food service provided by Manna Soup Kitchen. Educational components to the event included examples of electric fencing for chicken coops provided by Agritek Fencing, an electric “unwelcome mat” display, kid’s activities provided by Durango Nature Studies including a “Bear Scat” Eating Contest, bear-proof container examples, informational booths, and a slideshow presentation titled, “Great Colorado Bear Stories,” by author Linda Pritchett of Fort Collins, CO on the history of bears in Colorado and current human and black bear issues. Event participants included Agritek Fencing, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Durango Nature Studies, Living with Wildlife Advisory Board of La Plata County, Maria’s Bookshop, WCA Transit Waste, Waste Management, and the City of Durango. Event sponsors included: Red Willow Production, Twin Buttes LLC and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Museum.

Spring Bear Wake-Up Social

Expenses

Revenue

Sponsorships

1000

Personal donations

250

Event Take

169

Venue Rental

267

Live music

100

Promotion

878.38

Speaker lodging

100

Bear scat cookies

55 Total

$1400.38

$1419

Photos from the 2012 Spring Bear Wake-Up Social. Bear scat eating contest participants at le.

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Photos from the 2012 Spring Bear Wake-Up Social. Laura Pritchett slideshow talk shown at right.

Bear Smart Newspaper Columns Five educational columns about bear biology and behavior and human-bear conflict written by Bryan Peterson (BSD) appeared in the Durango Herald during the 2012 bear season. Archived versions can be found on the Durango Herald website. Bear Smart articles in 2012 were: 5/3: Bears are awake, ready for warm weather. Are you? http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20120503/COLUMNISTS43/705039975/0/SEARCH/Bears-areawake-ready-for-warm-weather---are-you? 7/5: Is being fire wise also being bear smart? http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20120705/COLUMNISTS43/707059990/0/SEARCH/Is-beingfire-wise-also-being-bear-smart? 8/9: What is a cub and what’s its key for survival? http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20120809/COLUMNISTS43/708099984/0/SEARCH/What-is-acub-and-what%27s-its-key-for-survival? 9/5: How cute is it when bears become a nuisance to neighborhoods? http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20120905/COLUMNISTS43/120909971/0/SEARCH/How-cuteis-it-when-bears-become-nuisances-to-neighborhoods? 11/4: Rehabilitation gives one lucky cub a chance at new life http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20121114/COLUMNISTS43/121119773/0/SEARCH/ Rehabilitation-gives-1-lucky-cub-a-chance-at-new-life

Bear Hikes For the public to better understand bears in the wild, habits and seasonal food requirements, educational walks in bear country in the spring and fall were made available to the general public. In 2011, BSD led small groups into areas with obvious bear sign and explained bear scat, day beds, tree markings and natural food use. In addition, brief bear spray demonstrations were provided along with photos, statistics and information on urban bears and avoiding conflict. 46 people attended the 2011 Spring and Fall Bear Hikes. Due to a complicated and demanding bear season, no bear hikes were oered in 2012. 7

Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Fruit Tree Outreach In an effort to reduce the avoidable amount of unused fruit available to bears, BSD worked with Jim Dyer, (Healthy Community Food Systems) and Darrin Parmenter (La Plata County Extension Office), last fall to develop a website bulletin board network to match up residents that had excess fruit with those that could use fruit. Potential benefits include: fewer bear conflicts with people, less damage to fruit trees, less wasted fruit on streets and sidewalks, more local food for human consumption, local livestock feed, and local organic matter for compost. Plans are to have this program in place in time for ripening fruit in 2013.

Electric Fencing Outreach A demonstration of electric fencing for chicken coops was provided by Agritek Fencing at the Spring Bear Wake-Up Social as was an example of an electric “unwelcome mat.” In addition, BSD compiled a 92-page resource guide and copies were provided to electric fence suppliers in Durango to be used for reference purposes and to loan out to residents interested in constructing electrical fencing to deter bears from chickens, fruit trees, orchards, beehives, grains and more. e guide, “Electric Solutions for Deterring Bears,” was a compilation of resources and how-to instructions from Montana FWP, Living With Wildlife Foundation, Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and more.

Community Presentations Bryan Peterson (BSD) gave 5 slideshow public presentations on bears and human-bear bears issues. e presentation covers bears in the wild, seasonal habits and food needs, human food attractants, conflicts with people, removing attractants and avoiding conflict, bear mortality, and how other communities have addressed human and bear issues. Attendance numbers were: Escalante Hall at Fort Lewis College: 25, Backspace eatre: 12, Rotary Club: 35, Schank Hall in Vallecito: 30 and FLC Action Research Class: 15.

Elementary Schools Program Bear Smart Durango initiated an educational “I’m a Bear Smart Kid!” program in 2011 for elementary school classrooms in 2011. Educator Katie Maloney was contracted to develop the curriculum and provide Be Bear Smart classroom presentations. 19 presentations were made at 9 schools, serving 380 students. In 2012, wildlife biologist Cindy Lawrence was contracted to revise the curriculum and provide 50-minute Be Bear Smart classroom presentations for elementary schools. Curriculum revisions placed more focus on residents avoiding conflicts with bears. e first half of the presentations addressed bears in the wild, the second half on human-bear conflict, with a hands-on intermission including a stuffed bear cub, bear hide, bear skulls and claws, dried bear scat and laminated photos. e BSD Elementary Schools Program went to 10 schools, 29 classrooms and reached 596 students in 2012. Grades served were Second: 10, Combined K-4: 5, Kindergarten: 4, First: 4, ird: 4 and Fourth: 2.

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


A Durango Herald article from 2012 on this program can be found at: http://www.durangoherald.com/ article/20121205/NEWS06/121209778/0/SEARCH/Touching-on-bear-facts

# of Schools Served

Presentations

# of Students Served

2011

9

19

380

2012

10

29

596

Photos from the “I’m A Bear Smart Kid!” Elementary Schools Program in 2012.

Special Events Booth e Bear Smart Durango educational booth was on display at 3 special events in 2012. Previous years had far more special event appearances. Events attended in 2012 were e Home & Ranch Show, Community Based Learning and Research Celebration at Fort Lewis College and the Spring Bear Wake-Up Social.

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Kroegers Bear Paws For the third year, BSD held a “Bear Paws” fundraiser event at Kroegers Ace Hardware for the entire month of August in 2012 when $1 and $5 printed “bear paws” were available for purchase from cashiers. Although the main intent of this program is as a fundraiser for BSD, there is a strong educational component, as well. A wood and nail “unwelcome mat” was constructed and on display along with copied fliers on how to build one at home. Cashiers handed out copied fliers informing city and county residents on local resources for obtaining bear-resistant trash containers including costs and contact information.

Educating Policy Makers BSD emailed 6 monthly bear activity reports to city and county staff, city council, county commissioners, law enforcement and others. ese timely summaries were a compilation of bear sighting and incident reports provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and BSD and included: total reports, bear in trash reports, year to date figures and an excel format list of each months reports. A sample report may found at: http://issuu.com/bearsmartdurango/docs/sep_2012

Fort Lewis College In response to public safety concerns associated with a female and two cubs hanging around near dormitories at the campus, BSD produced and hung 75 fliers around dormitories informing students of the presence of bears and to not feed bears. In addition, BSD prepared a flier for staff to distribute via an email tree and BSD produced a PSA poster for display on all campus electronic message boards.

Media and Social Media Outreach Radio: Bear Smart Durango appeared twice on local KDUR radio. Once to announce bears coming out of hibernation and to promote its Spring Bear Wake-Up Social Event and another in fall to discuss the growing concern of bears frequenting the campus of Fort Lewis College. City Channel 10: BSD partnered with the City of Durango on an educational PSA on how to obtain a cityprovided bear-resistant trash container that aired on the city’s cable channel, City Channel 10. In addition, to announce the start of bear season and to remind residents of the city wildlife ordinance, BSD organized four youths to prepare a quick 3-minute skit on bears and avoiding human-bear conflict, complete with an adult in a bear costume, which they performed at a City of Durango City Council meeting in April 2012. Youtube video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kBTgQtzg2s&feature=youtu.be Website: e Bear Smart Durango website was visited 9,977 times by 7,199 unique visitors in 2012. e most visits occurred in August: 1,331, September: 1,248, October: 1,066 and July: 993.

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

OCT

NOV

DEC

Total

# of Unique Visitors

351

394

451

430

580

563

757

954

950

766

515

488

7199

# of Visits

536

651

571

547

759

734

993

1331

1248

1066

740

801

9977

Social Media: e Bear Smart Durango Facebook page was established in 2009 and had 563 followers as of December 2012. In late 2012, the Bear Working Group recommended that BSD establish a twitter account for educational outreach, which was completed in February 2013.

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Other Activities e Bear Smart bear walked in the Snowdown Parade handing out candy to children. BSD provided a Bear Smart camping outdoor classroom presentation at Frosty Pines Wilderness Education Program in 2012.

Monitoring A.M. Trash Monitoring And Reporting Bear Smart Durango has conducted monitoring of trash strewn overnight by bears within city limits since 2007. In 2012, Bryan Peterson (BSD) monitored overnight bear and trash activity over 77 mornings and volunteer Jazz Morgan for 55 mornings for a total of 260 hours. BSD also received timely bear and trash reports from newspaper couriers and residents. As part of monitoring bear-strewn trash in the city, BSD called in 638 violations of the city wildlife ordinance to city law enforcement in 2012. City Code Enforcement investigated 497 incidents, issued 175 written warnings and issued 2 citations in 2012. No group or government agency conducts a.m. trash monitoring in the county and the Sheriff’s Department in 2012 reported 22 bearrelated calls resulting in 2 written warnings and no citations. # Reported Reports of bear and trash incidents called into city law enforcement

638

Bear Sightings & Incidents Based on reports of bears in trash, sightings and incidents reported by residents to BSD and Colorado Parks & Wildlife, 6 monthly reports were produced and emailed to elected officials and city, county staff, and others. e year-end Summary Report of findings and GPS Mapping, graciously donated by Ecosphere Environmental Services, was completed in February 2013 and emailed to elected officials and city, county staff, and others in March 2013. e annual summary report covers: reports by month, total reports, area bear mortality including hunter harvest and non-hunter mortality, enforcement of city and county ordinances and includes GPS mapping of: bear sightings and incidents in the City of Durango and La Plata County and a Severity Index map of bear and trash incidents for the city. 2012 Summary Report: http://issuu.com/bearsmartdurango/docs/2012_summary_report  2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Bear in trash reports

621

121

359

892

598

916

Total reports

1274

228

616

1162

825

1545

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Bear Smart Durango 2012 Bear in Trash Severity

Bear in Trash

0

0.5 Miles

1

1:15,000

5% %

15

% 10

-2

5%

0%

-1

% -8

-1 8%

-4

% 4%

% 3%

-3 2%

U

p

to

2%

2012 Bear in Trash Severity

Data Sources: Bear incident data comes from reports to Bear Smart Durango or the Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Map showing the rate of severity, or hot spot areas, of bear and trash incidents in 2012 within city limits.

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Bear Smart Durango 2012 Bear Sightings and Incidents







%(!.

Incident Type

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/$!- /+/( 

 %(!.



 

HUMAN-BEAR CONFLICT *3%*% !*//$/$./$! ,+/!*/%( /+0.!$0) *+-! -%*&0-3+-)+-/( %/3+0/.% !+" (!#($0*/%*#$-1!./.* +-,-+,!-/3 )#!* %*(0 !.!-."!! %*#+*$0)* ,-+1% ! "++ .  /+0-!.!-%*% !*/ /+)!."-+)-!,+-/./+!-)-/0-*#++-/$!+(+- +-'.* %( (%"!

Map of bear sightings and incidents in 2012 in La Plata County and the City of Durango.

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Remote Camera Project To gain a better understanding of bear activity and to better measure the effectiveness of reducing attractants, BSD purchased an infrared remote trail camera in 2012 and placed it in numerous locations in La Plata County. At a private school in the city of Durango it was used to best determine the level of concern for the public safety of students, and staff. Note: e number of bear appearances refers only to the number of bears appearing in photos and not the actual number of bears involved, as the same individual bear may appear in multiple sequenced photos.

Location

Time Period

# of Bear Appearances

6/20 to 7/13

76

Bears le aer bear-resistant container installed

West ird Avenue

8/4 to 9/3

332

Bears used location as travel corridor

East Fourth Avenue

9/3 to 9/26

28

Bears used residents yard as travel corridor

Park Avenue

9/29 to 10/28

46

Bears passed thru and fed on fruit in yard

Near Fort Lewis College

10/29 to 11/21

2

Crabapple trees and trash remained, bears removed

Hermosa

12/11 to 12/21

0

Deer carcass remained onsite, no bears presented

CR 245

Result

Remote camera photos from 2012. Clockwise from upper le: West Park Avenue, East Fourth Avenue, female and three cubs off CR 245, and just below the campus of Fort Lewis College.

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


Special Projects Bear Working Group Bear Smart Durango initiated the creation of a Bear Working Group (BWG) in 2011. e BWG is a collaborative effort to minimize human and bear conflicts in La Plata County. Facilitated by Marsha Porter-Norton, representatives from a variety of community stakeholders work together, in what is in essence a de-facto government board or commission, to: • Develop and help implement creative community-based solutions for minimizing human-bear conflicts, • Provide a forum for sharing information and resolving divergent views, and enabling coordinated responses to requests for information, • Participate in the evaluation of best practices, attractant management, and bear management and provide feedback to the partners, • Provide a coordinated approach to community outreach and communications regarding the activities of the Working Group, and • Provide, or recommend, a coordinated response to human-bear conflict issues in the community. e BWG met twice in 2012 and in December 2012 began formalizing an Action Plan for the group, which was completed in February 2013. Priorities for action included: partnering with Fort Lewis College in reducing human-bear conflict on and off campus, reduce the availability of fruit as an attractant in the city and county, and establish educational outreach on bear issues for landlords, HOA’s, new homebuyers and realtors.

Resident Bear Photos BSD has solicited photos taken by residents of bears since its inception in 2003. In 2012, 58 residents emailed 230 photos of bears, bears in yards and trash, property damage, fruit tree damage, electric fencing for chicken coops and bear-strewn trash.

Bear in yard in town. Photo: Barb Fidanque

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


2013 Plans Bear Smart Durango continues to evolve in its ability to work within the community to create real solutions that promote human/bear co-existence and reduce human-bear conflicts. Goals set for 2013 include continuation of existing programs, and: • BSD is in the process of updating its website to a WordPress format in order to make revisions easier and more timely and to add new features including forms that would allow residents to report bear sightings and human food attractants. • Plans are to greatly expand the Bear-Resistant Loaner Container Program, funding pending. • A Be Bear Smart Banner has been designed and will be printed for display at Santa Rita Park and downtown locations. Banner space has been booked for the week of May 6 at Santa Rita Park. • We hope to work with Frosty Pines Wilderness Education Program to expand the “I’m a Bear Smart Kid!” Elementary Schools Program into the summer months.

e Bear Smart bear handing out candy to kids at the Snowdown Parade.

Prepared by: Bryan Peterson Bear Smart Durango PO Box 2291 Durango, CO 81302 970-749-4262 bp@frontier.net Follow us on facebook and twitter

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Bear Smart Durango / Annual Report 2012


2012 BSD Annual Report