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LICI's Iris Project is Enhancing an Area of The Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge.

May 17, 2021


Many people think that being involved in any type of replanting in marsh restoration projects is a lot of work that's not worth their effort because the only visible change will likely be many years off into the future. Well, the pictures below show that this is not true.

Each photo is from the same scene at the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans East. The "before" pictures were taken a couple of weeks before the first iris planting there in February of 2018. The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) has been back over the last two years adding more. The "after" pictures were taken last month of the same spots. That's only three years after the first I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana irises were planted.

LICI has taken on the challenge of turning this area of the refuge back into a great example of a Louisiana cypress tree swamp, as it is was back in its history. Judging from the pictures, the cypress trees and native Louisiana irises that they have planted, along with future plantings that they have plans for, will continue to fundamentally change this spot each year to allow them to reach that goal.



Photo: The viewing platform is shown on the Bayou Sauvage Refuge boardwalk in February of 2018 two weeks before a permit was issued by the US Fish & Wildlife Service for the first Louisiana irises to be planted.


Photo: The same location three years later during the April, 2021 iris bloom.


Photo: The area to the right of the viewing platform of the Bayou Sauvage Refuge boardwalk is shown in February of 2018.


You can see on the left side of the photo the remnants of huge cypress trees. Clumps of these ancient roots are spread out across the area where we have planted the irises. One root clump equals one cypress tree. Judging by the size of the root clumps the cypress trees must have been between 3' - 4' in diameter.


Photo: The same location three years later during the April, 2021 iris bloom.



Photo: The area to the right of the viewing platform of the Bayou Sauvage Refuge boardwalk is shown in February of 2018.



Photo: The same location three years later during the April, 2021 iris bloom.


If you are interested in volunteering for one of Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative's (LICI) iris rescue or iris planting events you can contact them at licisaveirises@gmail.com.


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