LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – 1 of the rarest species of beetle in the country may be in its last stages of existence, and saving it could cost millions of dollars to two Nebraska counties.
The endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle is found in rare saline wetlands in Saunders County, south of Ceresco and north of Lincoln. The wetlands were once common here but urban expansion and farming have degraded the beetle’s habitat.
Designating critical habitats for the beetle could reduce land values and restrict development in certain areas, but could also bring in conservation dollars from the government and nonprofits. That’s according to a study commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A survey this summer found 263 tiger beetles, down from 777 in 2002.