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Updated: Nov 12

November 4, 2020 New Orleans, La.


The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) oranizeda multi-group volunteer day at the USF&WS' Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans east. The volunteers came from numerous groups, including The Friends of the Refuge, Limitless Vistas, Common Ground Relief, the Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans and individuals that have signed up to be on the LICI volunteer list. Over 1,300 I. giganticaerulea Louisiana species irises were added to the 2,500 already growing there from three years of plantings at the refuge's Ridgetrail boardwalk.

Photo: The irises arriving at the refuge for the planting event. The 1,000 irises were dug up from the LICI iris holding area by two volunteers the day before ended up not being enough. Later in the morning a group had to spit off from the planting and rush over to the iris holding area to dig up 300 more to finish the day’s project.


The project started three years ago to reintroduce native irises back into the refuge after Hurricane Katrina killed off the last of what was once hundreds of acres of irises back in the 1920’s.

Photo: The group begins work using a step ladder to get down from the boardwalk.


In addition to the Louisiana irises being planted, Common Ground Relief, a local non-profit involved in marsh restoration, donated and planted twenty cypress trees.

Photo: Common Ground Relief volunteers planting cypress trees.


The volunteers were so focused and worked so hard that they ran out of irises after only 1 1/2 hours of work. Work continued on the other side of the viewing platform after a small group of volunteers rushed back to the LICI iris holding area to get more irises,.

Photo: Volunteers working planting irises. The Executive Director of Common Ground Relief, Charlotte Clark, can be seen in the foreground.



Updated: Oct 28

October 27, 2020 Braithwaite, LA


The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) would like to welcome a new location into our growing list of properties where we are doing projects to manage, preserve or increase the number of native species Louisiana irises. In this new location we will be doing all three over the coming months. The location is the Louisiana St. Bernard State Park, which is located in Braithwaite, LA just southeast of New Orleans.


The volunteers worked Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at the park digging up threatened irises to take to the LICI iris holding area to strengthen them up for replanting back into the park in a couple of months, planted 200 new I. giganticaerulea Louisiana species irises to add to an existing clump of irises and cleared brush from the pond shoreline where the irises were planted.


A big "Thank You!" goes out to park manager, Ginger Theriot, for taking the time away from her hurricane Zeta preparations to meet with LICI representatives to review our proposed projects that morning. "She not only met with us, she approved all of the projects on the spot, so we decided since we had some volunteers with us to go ahead and get started!", LICI's Gary Salathe said.


"Thanks!" also goes out to the Executive Director of Common Ground Relief, Charlotte Clark, for not only supplying some volunteers for the project, but also getting down in the muck helping out herself.

Photo: A group effort.

The activity was organized by the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative as the first of what will be many more for this new long-term project at St. Bernard State Park.

A large outdoor pavilion within the picnic area is just a 20 yards from the linear pond where the irises were planted.


The iris planting was done in the park's picnic area.

Photo: Volunteers begin work by digging up a clump of existing irises.


Volunteers begin work by digging up a clump of irises. that a board of directors member of LICI discovered two years ago in a heavily wooded area of the park near the picnic area's parking lot. Between the heavy shade from the trees, as well as competing with the tree roots for moisture during the summer, the clump of irises has been slowly shrinking each year. Its doubtful it would have lasted more than another year or so in this location.


The plan was to dig up these irises and plant them into containers at the LICI iris holding area to strengthen them up over the next two or three months. They will then be brought back to the park and planted in a better location.

Photo: The second existing clump of I. giganticaerulea species Louisiana irises.


Another existing clump of I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana iris was also found two years ago growing along a linear pond that runs through the center of the park's picnic area. It is doing much better because of being along the water's edge and there being much less trees nearby to shade them during the summer. The trees lose their leaves during the winter, which is the growing season for the irises. The day's work included adding more I. giganticaerulea irises to this existing clump and then clear out the underbrush from along the pond bank so that the irises will be in full view when they bloom next spring.


Photo: The volunteers working planting irises along the linear pond.


About 200 new I. giganticaerulea irises were added to the pond bank near the existing clump of irises.


Photo: A section of the completed project at day's end.


October 21, 2020 New Orleans, La.


The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative got the first irises in the ground for the 2020-2021 fall/winter planting season on Tuesday, October 21, 2020. Thanks to volunteers from Common Ground Relief being available, the LICI was able to organize this planting of 300 I. giganticaerulea species Louisiana irises at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans east. The irises were planted near the first viewing platform on the refuge boardwalk.

These are the first irises of the season that have been taken out of the 6,000 growing at the LICI iris holding area in New Orleans. The irises were rescued from properties this summer where they were threatened with destruction from development.

Photo: A volunteer digs up the first iris from the 6,000 growing at the LICI iris holding area on the morning of the 21st. The iris is to be used for the project that day.


The event used only seven volunteers as a test before larger groups of volunteers are invited to participate in the future. It went well.

Photo: The volunteers begin work planting the irises at the refuge.


The ground conditions were great for planting the irises in areas that are usually under 6" - 8" of water. The group was able to get into these areas and plant while the water was down from our recent dry spell.

Photo: This was the first opportunity that Gary Salathe, board of directors member of the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative, and Refuge Manager, Shelley Stiaes, had a chance to meet the new Executive Director of Common Ground Relief, Charlotte Clark.


(Left to right): LICI board of directors member, Britt Aliperti, Charlotte Clark, Gary Salathe and Shelley Stiaes.

Photo: Some of the 300 irises planted during the workday.


The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative, Inc. is a Louisiana non-profit corporation that has been formed for the purpose of organizing Louisiana iris rescue and planting projects involving wild, native irises threatened with destruction.