Virginia BearWise Community Cost-Share Program Application

General Information for Applicants

  • Prior to applying, applicants are required to contact local DWR staff to discuss their proposed project and human-bear interactions in their area.
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss proposed projects with garbage haulers, whether in-house or commercial, prior to submitting an application, if applicable. All equipment must be compatible with agreements/contracts and garbage service vehicles.
  • Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that have a community-wide benefit.
  • HOA’s may apply through their local government. Private individuals, businesses, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are not eligible to act as recipients for this program but can collaborate with a local government.
  • Successful applicants are required to submit a 1–2 page project summary report to DWR by June 1. More details will be provided to applicants awarded funds.
  • Successful applicants are required to maintain, repair, and/or replace all products or equipment under their control and ownership (dumpsters, retrofitted lids, electric fencing, residential rollout cans, etc.). DWR staff will conduct periodic inspections of project sites and notify fund recipients of concerns.
  • First time applicants will be given priority for funding.
  • Applicants previously awarded funding from DWR must demonstrate proper use, care, and maintenance of all equipment purchased with DWR cost-share funds for eligibility to reapply.
  • Awarded funding can only be used for the purchase of bear-resistant equipment, labor for modifying existing equipment or fabricating new equipment. Funds may not be used to maintain, repair, or replace equipment or products previously purchased with DWR cost share funds.
  • DWR has full discretion to award or deny funds.
  • Awarded funds are typically transferred electronically.
  • The application deadline is October 1, 2021.

Factors for Selection

Funding to reduce negative human-bear interactions can be awarded to any town, city, or county government in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Homeowner’s associations and other non-government entities are requested to work with their local governments. DWR must be a good steward of the limited funding available, and seeks long-term and comprehensive solutions that have a high likelihood for success. Therefore, applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Does the local government or HOA have an ordinance requiring residents and businesses to secure all bear attractants, which could include proper garbage storage until the day of collection?
  2. Have the proposed products or equipment (dumpsters, residential cans, etc.) passed the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s bear-resistant product testing program? An updated list can be found here.
  3. If the answer to #2 is no or unknown, has Department of Wildlife Resources staff approved of the product or electric fence design and specifications?
  4. Does the local government engage their public with bear outreach and information?
  5. Is the local government a BearWise community? See
  6. DWR, using an in-house mapping tool, will assess areas of the state that demonstrate the highest need and prioritize awarding applicants from those areas.
  7. Does the project include informational signage regarding human-bear conflict prevention or proper use of products or equipment at the site(s)?
  8. A minimum 30% match is required (financial, in-kind, or combination). Projects with greater than 30% total match will receive higher priority.
  9. Has the local government engaged other partners on this project? Contributions from NGO partners, state or federal agencies, residents, businesses, and/or other grants or donations can be included and will receive higher priority.”


The application period has ended.