Sitka needs bear-resistant trash cans: That’s the recommendation of a group of Sitkans tasked with tackling the community’s bear problem.

When the Sitka Assembly meets on Tuesday (1-24-24), it will hear the final report from the task force that re-convened last March, after 14 bears were shot and killed over the summer and fall of 2021. 

The group is recommending the city purchase Kodiak brand bear-resistant trash cans to replace some of the city’s current cans. Last spring, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game partnered with the Fortress of the Bear to test several can options. They filled them with beef, berries and peanut butter, and handed them over to several adult brown bears at the facility. The bears managed to open all of the cans eventually, but the Kodiak cans lasted longer than the others– coming in at around 12 minutes. A full shipment to Sitka, around 280 cans, would cost the city around $98,000. 

Read the Bear Task Force’s final report here

The assembly will also consider donating $25,000 to the Alaska Trollers Association’s legal defense fund. The trollers, along with the Department of Fish & Game, have intervened in a suit brought by the Washington state-based Wild Fish Conservancy against the National Marine Fisheries Service. The conservation group has argued – so far, successfully – in US District Court that Alaska trollers are threatening the survival of a small population of endangered killer whales in Puget Sound, by depriving them of king salmon, their primary food source.

At its last meeting, most assembly members signaled willingness to give the money. If they approve the appropriation tonight, it will come back before the assembly again for a final reading. 

The Sitka Assembly meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Raven News will broadcast the meeting live, following Alaska News Nightly. 

View the full agenda here