Douglas officials to consider bear trash ordinance |

Douglas officials to consider bear trash ordinance

by Susie Vasquez
Nevada Appeal News Service

Carson Valley residents have seen a sharp increase in the number of native black bears raiding garbage cans and homes. To help stem the tide, county officials are considering expansion of the bear ordinance requiring bear-proof containers when residents experience two raids in a two-year period.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners could approve the ordinance at its meeting Thursday in Minden.

“Unsecured trash is an enticement to bears and creates situations in which a chance meeting between a hungry bear and an individual could result in injury or death,” county officials wrote in a to the board. “It is also unfair to the animals. They don’t learn to forage for themselves, creating a dependence that places them in a hazardous environment including vehicles and possibly individuals who are armed.”

In an average summer, the Nevada Department of Wildlife could get between 100-150 calls a month in the area extending from Reno to Topaz Lake, including Lake Tahoe. There were more than 200 calls each in June and July and almost 400 in August, said Chris Healy of the Nevada Department of Wildlife in a previous interview.

“And I don’t think we’ve seen the worst of it. I’ve been here 22 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s constant,” he said.

Costs are expected to increase by 50 percent in 2007 to about $167,000 compared to last year’s budget of $111,577, according to information from the Department of Wildlife.

The proposal excludes Minden and Gardnerville.

A violation can only occur if there is documentation of a bear getting into improperly secured trash. A bear-proof trash container is required after a bear has been caught raiding the same residence twice in a two-year period.

In other business

• Commissioners could approve an ordinance requiring specific design standards for single-family homes and multi-family projects using bear-proof trash enclosures. Included in the ordinance is a separation of 50 feet between the home and bear-proof enclosure. If that can’t be met, the enclosure must maximize that separation.

• Commissioners could approve a request to change the zoning on about 16 acres in the Tramway Sierra Planning area from forest and range to multi-family residential. Developer Nanuk Real Estate Consulting wants to build 52 condominium units. The agendized item is set for the Lake Tahoe meeting.