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LICI's Louisiana Iris Seed Collection event at Bayou Sauvage

July 17, 2021 New Orleans, La.

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) held a volunteer event at the US Fish & Wildlife Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans to open Louisiana iris seed pods. The see pods were collected earlier in the week by a GulfCorps member with Limitless Vistas of New Orleans from the irises near the refuge's Ridge Trail boardwalk.

Photo: The Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge is located within the city limits of New Orleans. Its one of the few US Fish & Wildlife refuges located within a urban area, although the area of New Orleans East where the refuge is located is sparsely populated.

The area near the viewing platform of the Ridge Trail boardwalk is where LICI has planted thousands of irises as part of a multi-year project to reintroduce the I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana iris back into the refuge. Saltwater flooding from hurricane Katrina decimated the native iris population in the refuge.

Photo: Volunteers are shown working planting irises near the Ridge Trail boardwalk viewing platform in the fall of 2020.

Photo: Louisiana irises blooming near the viewing platform in the spring of 2021. Each of the flowers created a seed pod, which holds between 25 and 60 individual seeds.

Over the last few months LICI has had a permit to eradicate Chinese Tallow trees in the area of the boardwalk viewing platform. This evasive tree species grows faster than the native trees. The tallow trees are now shading out native tree seedlings that were planted to reforest this area of the refuge after Hurricane Katrina's high winds cleared out swaths of mature forest. The tallow tree eradication effort has been successful in opening up lengths of shoreline in the swamp to sunlight as the tallow trees have died.

The purpose of the volunteer event was to remove the seeds from the iris seed pods. The seeds will be broadcast out at a future date into the muck along the new shoreline where there is now plenty of sunlight and not many competing plants. This is being done to help nature speed up the natural process of expanding the existing irises into these new areas.

Photo: Some of the volunteers working opening seed pods at the Bayou Sauvage refuge on July 17, 2021.

Volunteers from LICI, the Louisiana Master Naturalist of Greater New Orleans and Common Ground Relief worked under a pavilion at the entrance to the boardwalk opening the seed pods on Saturday, July 17th. An estimated 6,000 iris seeds were collected by the group.

Photo: Some of the volunteers are shown with the container full of iris seeds at the end of the morning.

More information on the LICI reintroducing the Louisiana iris project at the Bayou Sauvage refuge can be found here:



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