A local expert committee formed in November by Mayor Don Wesely to study issues concerning the rare Salt Creek tiger beetle gave its recommendations to the Mayor and the City Council today. Several hundred of the beetles live in the saline wetlands near the 27th Street and Interstate 80 interchange, an area slated for future development. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering recommending the insect be placed on the federal endangered species list.
"We all have a stake in ensuring the protection of this rare environment and the survival of the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle," said Mayor Wesely. "I want to thank the experts on our local committee for their hard work in weighing all the issues to come up with common sense measures we can take locally to protect the beetle while still balancing the economic impact and the needs of landowners."
The committee's short-term recommendations include:
Long term, the report recommends the development of a management plan for the Salt Creek Watershed and tiger beetle habitat by December 2002; further research; working with landowners on wetland preservation; and a public education effort.
The Cooper Foundation provided funding for the committee's work, including the services of Lighthouse Consulting, LLC, which facilitated the meetings.
Members of the committee include Steve Anshutz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Bob Hampton, Hampton Development; Karen Hansen, Lighthouse Consulting, LLC; Leon Higley, UNL Professor of Entomology; John Janovy, UNL Professor of Biological Sciences; Glenn Johnson, Lower Platte South Natural Resource District; Daryoush Razavian, hydrologist, Olsson Associates; Harold Roper, landowner; Rick Schneider, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Dan Schultz, Lower Platte South Natural Resources District; Steve Spomer, UNL Research Technologist in Entomology; Art Thompson, Cooper Foundation; Cindy Veys, Nebraska Department of Roads; and Lancaster County Commissioner Bob Workman.
The committee also includes representatives of the city Public Works and Utilities Department, the city Parks and Recreation Department, the city-county Planning Department and the Mayor's office.