The City of Huntsville, Alabama, in partnership with Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, has donated 700 acres in Limestone County to the Land Trust of North Alabama. The property ensures the protection of sensitive habitat along Beaverdam Creek, home to the endemic and threatened spring pygmy sunfish, as well as the endangered slender campeloma snail. The land includes Beaverdam Swamp, Beaverdam Creek, Moore Branch, Ragland Spring and Moss Spring.
“Since 2008, the City of Huntsville has always identified this area, through our Western Lands Master Planning Process, as an area of sensitive concern and needed protection,” said Tommy Battle, mayor of Huntsville.
For more than a decade, the Land Trust has been the cooperating partner with the city of Huntsville, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and property owners along the creek to monitor the spring pygmy sunfish and its habitat. The Forever Wild Land Trust, administered by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, purchased approximately 500 acres adjacent to this property last year. The combination of these two preserved properties creates a significant ecological complex, now protected.
In addition, last year Mazda Toyota Manufacturing established an endowment fund designed for the promotion and protection of the viability of the spring pygmy sunfish and its habitat. The funds are held and managed by the Land Trust with the guidance of a scientific committee consisting of experts with relevant scientific, technical and regulatory expertise. Mazda Toyota’s site for its manufacturing facility, currently under construction, abuts this property.
“Mazda Toyota Manufacturing maintains a commitment to environmental sustainability and is proud to call North Alabama home. We appreciate the importance our community places on preserving the environment and the interest our community takes in enjoying the outdoors,” said Mark Brazeal, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing vice president of administration.
In addition to the conservation of threatened or endangered species, this property provides a varied and robust habitat ideal for numerous species, especially birds, reptiles and amphibians, which will also benefit from this protection.
“Conservation partnerships like this one are a powerful tool in reaching the goal of preserving our area’s unique natural places,” said Marie Bostick, Land Trust of North Alabama executive director.
The Land Trust is a nonprofit organization, preserving natural lands, water resources and wildlife habitat in 10 North Alabama counties.