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LICI Completes Winter 2022-2023 Iris Plantings at Fontainebleau State Park

February 2, 2023 Mandeville, La.

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) added more Louisiana irises to their iris restoration project in Fontainebleau State Park near Mandeville, La., on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Volunteers from the New Orleans Chapter of the US Coast Guard's Chief Petty Officers Association worked to clear off brush, bushes, and vines to expand LICI's iris plantings at their multi-year project in bog near the beach in the park. The volunteers transformed the bog through their clearing work, adding five more cypress trees and planting about 150 Louisiana irises.

Volunteers are seen removing brush and debris from LICI's iris restoration site at Fontainebleau State Park on February 1st.

The I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana iris from the LICI's iris rescue program was used for the planting and all of their previous plantings at the bog.

LICI started the iris restoration project at the park in 2021 with the help of volunteers from several organizations. The purpose of the group's project at the park is to use a freshwater bog next to one of the covered picnic areas to have the irises grow and increase in numbers while at the same time helping to achieve the goals of the park and LICI to increase the public's awareness of this unique native plant. In future years the irises can be thinned out to use in other areas of the park to augment the wild irises already growing along trails in swampy areas of the park.

A volunteer from the US Coast Guard's Chief Petty Officers Association is shown planting Louisiana irises at Fontainebleau State Park on February 1st.

"The iris bog at the park went under 30" of storm surge within one year from Hurricanes Zeta and Ida without harming the irises. We decided that with the support of the park manager, we would like to expand the iris planting in the bog," LICI's Gary Salathe said. He added that the volunteers' work on February 1st helped accomplish this goal. The interim park manager, Troy Carney, plans to remove some piles of dirt from the Hurricane Ida clean-up deposited along the edge of the bog near the picnic pavilion area within the next week. "We have committed to coming back once that work is completed to hand clear the last small area of bushes and plant more cypress trees and some irises," Salathe says.

A volunteer is shown next to a bald cypress tree she just finished planting as part of the work done on February 1st.

Volunteers from the US Coast Guard's Chief Petty Officers Association are shown after the volunteer event held at the iris bog in Fontainebleau State Park

on February 1st.

The iris bog in Fontainebleau State Park is shown after the work is finished.



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