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LICI Adds More Irises at the US Fish & Wildlife Service's Mandalay Refuge Nature Trail

January 20, 2023 Houma, La

Volunteers with the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) added 150 Louisiana irises to their iris restoration project at the US Fish & Wildlife Service's Mandalay refuge near Houma, La. on January 19, 2023. The purpose of the project is to increase the number of I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana iris growing along the nature trail. The number of irises, which are native to the refuge, has been significantly reduced due to saltwater storm surges from past hurricanes.

The first significant iris planting at the Mandalay refuge boardwalk was organized by 4H Club coordinator, Cherie Roger and SeaGrant Area Agent - Southwest Region, Nicole Lundberg for the Terrebonne parish 4H Club Junior Leaders. The Greater New Orleans Iris Society donated the 300 irises. The planting took place on November 10, 2019.

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative picked up the project in 2020 and added more irises that year and in 2021. Irises from the LICI iris rescue program have been used for all of their plantings.

Unlike many of LICI's iris restoration projects along area boardwalks, the irises have been planted along a nature trail at the Mandalay refuge. The photo was taken before Hurricane Ida blew down many of the trees along the nature trail in 2022.

The nature trail at the Mandalay refuge took a huge hit from Hurricane Ida, losing many trees. Since these fallen trees had opened up the tree canopy, allowing for more sunlight to reach down to the ground, LICI decided to plant more irises this year.

Volunteers with the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative are seen on January 19, 2023 inspecting the damage to the Mandalay refuge nature trail caused by 2022's Hurricane Ida.

A group of LICI volunteers went out to check on the damage caused by Hurricane Ida to the Mandalay refuge nature trail on January 19, 2023. They brought 150 irises with them to plant. They discovered all of the irises that were previously planted survived and are doing well. Although the fallen trees did open up the tree canopy, the new sunlight hitting the floor of the forest caused brush, weeds, and new tree seedlings to quickly fill in those spots.

One clump of previously planted irises is shown in the photo that was taken on January 19th.

The volunteers found enough locations near previously planted irises to plant all 150 of the irises they brought with them.



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