The Endangered Species Act, local power and contested issues on the rural-urban interface
This research project examines some of the effects that implementing the Endangered Species Act has on a rapidly growing community. This case study focuses on the eastern Nebraska saline wetlands near Lincoln in the Little Salt Creek watershed - home to the endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle. With the listing of the Salt Creek tiger beetle on the Federal Endangered Species list in 2005, the beetle has emerged as the central figure in a debate dividing those who wish to develop and those who aspire to protect these rare saline wetlands. Ethnographic data are used to study this situation. In-person interviews with participants reveal controversies surrounding the preservation of the eastern Nebraska saline wetlands. Three themes emerge: variations in social structure, the Endangered Species Act has made the beetle a controversial central issue, social control is gained by legislative force and land use zoning.