First, thanks for signing the petition! I think the NANFA organization could play a role by drafting a short position letter to USFWS. Although we are not a professional organization, we have many professionals on board, and if the ESA board receives similar letters from AFS, SFC, and ASIH, it may give them some perspective on the significance of this situation. Also, since we are in a non-professional role, we are the perfect place to start a spinoff local group, such as a "friends of...". This situation desperately needs local people to voice their opinions, and someone to organize them. I'm about two hours away, so I'm not the ideal point man for a "friends of..." group. However, we may have members who are willing to get it started.
Regarding the landowner, he has been in negotiation with USFWS and TNC for over a year to put Beaverdam Spring into a conservation easement. However, the type locality (Moss Spring) has been for sale on the limestone county website all the while http://www.edpa.org/...munits=english.
This 1,322 acre site is adjacent to Beaverdam Swamp, which he could profit from putting into easement. If the site next door were to become the automotive manufacturing facility that Huntsville is seeking, it is unlikely that the easement would be enough to protect the fish in the long term, at least not without some legal regulation. At this point, all the cards are on the table, and there is no need to dance around whether or not the landowner will donate his land to easement. His intentions are clearly to make a profit, either by selling his land to Huntsville, by deceiving and milking USFWS, or both. Additionally, he is only one of the five or six landowners involved. While we wait for him to make up his mind, the other landowners have no reason to believe that there is anything wrong with selling out to Huntsville. In my opinion, there has been too much focus on meeting this one landowner's needs, rather than getting the job done. He is going to make his money whether we protect the critical habitat or not, so we might as well get some laws on paper and get local people involved in habitat restoration/protection.