Construction of a 200-turbine wind farm near O’Neill was halted in mid-April due to the endangered burying beetle.
The beetle spends the winter underground, but comes up and flies away when the temperatures climb. Analysts believe the beetle will be able to move out of danger soon, KBRX radio of O’Neill recently reported.
KBRX said it is a “small setback” on the project, which is expected to be finished in November. Seventy of 200 foundations for the wind towers are currently in place, and some electrical substations are built to distribute power once it is generated.
Some 350 employees will work on construction at its peak this year, KBRX said.
The American burying beetle is found in six states and is on the federal endangered species list. As its name implies, it buries dead rodents and birds, so its larvae can eat them as they grow. A carrion beetle, it is a natural scavenger, recycling decaying materials back into the ecosystem.
In North Platte, Mona Anderson of Keep North Platte and Lincoln County Beautiful said the beetles are found in Lincoln, Dawson and Cherry counties. She said they are relatively common in the North Platte area
The burying beetle is one of 18 species of such beetles in Nebraska, all members of the carrion beetle family Silphidae, Anderson said a recent newsletter.
“So the next time you want to squish a bug, stop and think, maybe that bug is working to do his job,” she wrote. “That job, being one of the most important, is to naturally protect our environment.”