January 10, 2021 Port of Manchac, La.
The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) was invited to plant Louisiana irises on a Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) cypress tree planting volunteer event on Saturday, January 9, 2021. The plan was for some of the volunteers taking part in the CRCL event to plant Louisiana irises at the site of the tree planting as a test to see if irises could be added into future planting events, since cypress trees and irises are found growing naturally in the same habitat. This is the second year that this was attempted, with two events last year being cancelled do to high water at the site.
Photo on left: The sign-in table as volunteers begin to arrive.
As stated on their website; "The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to drive bold, science-based action to sustain a dynamic coastal Louisiana through engagement and advocacy."
Incorporated in 1988, CRCL represents a coalition of businesses, local governments, industries, scientific communities, national and local conservation groups, hunters, anglers and concerned citizens who all share a common vision and commitment to the sustainability of coastal Louisiana.
Photo above: Over thirty volunteers signed up for the event.
Six of the volunteers spent the morning planting I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana iris supplied by LICI as the other volunteers planted cypress, tupelo gum and swamp maple trees.
Photo on left: A boat leaves the dock with some of the irises and volunteers.
The irises came from a LICI iris rescue project done this summer. They have spent the last few months strengthen up at the LICI iris holding area in the lower ninth ward neighborhood of New Orleans. On this day they were being returned to the wild, but in a much better location from where they came.
The planting site was located along north pass of the Manchac Pass about a mile from the dock.
The morning had a cold start to it, but it quickly warmed up enough to make the day doable. It was a full sunshine day with a light breeze.
Photo on left: One group planted irises about 12" - 24" from what appeared to the normal water line. The rhizomes were pointed in the direction of the water with the idea that they will grow out into it to escape competition from the other marsh plants.
The property is owned by Southeast Louisiana University in Hammond, La. The university maintains a nearby research station named Turtle Cove.
One of the SLU professors involved in the Turtle Cove research station came out to observe the tree and iris plantings. She took GPS readings for each location of where the irises were planted. Her plan is to share the locations with LICI. She said she will be back to the site each year to monitor the success of the tree planting project, but will also include how the irises are doing in her reports.
Photo above: A second group of volunteers began planting irises at small ponds away from the shoreline that looked as though they hold water year round.
Photo on right: The first group of volunteers planting irises.
It was a great day that will likely open up many more opportunities in the future for the LICI to accomplish its mission of reestablishing the Louisiana iris in areas where it once grew in abundance.