July 12, 2021
Volunteers from the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) held an iris rescue event on Saturday, July 10, 2021 along Hwy 90 near the town of Des Allemands, La. Some of the irises were planted at the Lockport, La. Elevated Boardwalk later in the morning and the rest were taken to the LICI iris holding area to be planted into containers. The irises will be planted at the boardwalk later this year after they have strengthened up by growing in the containers.
Photo: LICI volunteers working in the Hwy 90 wet area digging up the I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana iris. The irises are native to the area and were growing in the ditch naturally. They were remnants of what were likely once thousands of irises growing along Hwy 90 before the state began spraying herbicides thirty years ago to keep the ditches clear of weeds.
The landowner of the property where the volunteers worked has bush-hogged the ditch/wet area each year in front of his property during the dry season. Because of his doing this, it has never been sprayed with a herbicide by the state highway department. It is the only stretch of highway not sprayed. This allowed the spot to become a mini-wetland bog full of native swamp plants, including the Louisiana iris.
Photo: Over seven hundred irises were dug up from this one spot where another rescue event was held in June.
The landowner now has the property for sale and has stopped maintaining the wet area. He believes its only a question of time before the state will begin spraying it. He has encouraged us to get the irises out and relocated to a safer location.
Photo: The volunteers on the July 10th iris rescue event, from left to right: Shannon Eaton, Jessica and Mike Glaspell, Gary Salathe, Jacqueline Richard, Jamie Zeringue and Richard Bosworth.
The volunteers took out an estimated seven hundred irises from the same spot where two other rescue events have been already held. They thought they would only be digging up a few straggler irises. Instead, they spent the entire time digging irises that were either missed or were still there because time had run out in the previous events.
LICI will be holding a number of iris rescues over the next few weeks to get all of their containers filled at the LICI iris holding area in New Orleans. Gary Salathe, volunteer and board of directors member for LICI said, "We have some new locations that have asked us to plant irises this fall and winter, so we will need as many irises as we have space for."
Anyone interested in volunteering on any LICI projects can contact the group at email@example.com
All of the above photos were taken and shared with us by Henry Cancienne.