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LICI's Winter 2020 Iris Planting Recap

Updated: Feb 17

February 12, 2021 New Orleans, La.


The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) is in the process of winding down its iris planting projects for the 2020 - 2021 fall and winter Louisiana iris planting season. The season's first iris planting took place at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge on October 21st and the last small plantings should take place within the next two weeks.

Photo Above: 6,000 I. giganticaerulea Louisiana species irises growing at LICI's iris holding area in early October, 2020.


Starting in late May through July 2020, volunteers on multiple events organized by the LICI collected about 6,000 I. giganticaerulea Louisiana species irises from properties that have plans for development, as donations from homeowners that removed irises from swamps and planted them on their property or from sites where irises from past rescued events were planted over the last two years. The irises were planted into containers at LICI's iris holding area in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans to strengthen up before being transplanted out into the swamps and marshes starting in the fall. An approximate 2,000 additional irises were brought into the iris holding area in November and December as space became available after plantings in the swamps began, bringing the estimated total number of irises that went out in plantings to 8,000.


Photo on left: The first irises to go out into the marsh are shown being gathered from the iris holding area on October 21, 2020.


The iris bloom typically starts in mid to late March, depending on the weather in February and early March. Colder weather will delay the start of the bloom and warmer weather during this period will cause it to start sooner.


This is the list of the iris planting projects and events that LICI completed during the 2020 - 2021 fall and winter Louisiana iris planting season:


Photos above: The first of four iris plantings that took place over a two month period at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans East was completed on October 21st. Volunteers from Limitless Vistas, Common Ground Relief and LICI did the planting.


More information on this project can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/lici-iris-planting-in-bayou-sauvage-national-wildlife-refuge



Photos above: Using volunteers from Common Ground Relief, irises were planted at St. Bernard State Park on October 28th, the day before Hurricane Zeta hit New Orleans. This was the first planting on what will be many more in this new LICI project.


More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/st-bernard-state-park-added-to-the-lici-iris-restoration-project-list




Photo on right: In late November another iris rescue event was held to fill containers at the iris holding area that had been emptied of irises from earlier iris planting events.







Photo on left: In mid-December LICI helped organize an iris planting at the Sankofa Wetland Park & Nature Trail in New Orleans using volunteers from the Master Naturalist of Greater New Orleans.




More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/iris-planting-at-sankofa-wetland-park-and-nature-trail


Photo above: Also in mid-December a small iris rescue event was held in St. Bernard parish in a drainage canal where the parish was considering spraying the water hyacinths with a herbicide because they were starting to block the drainage.


Photo on left and below: In late December the first of three iris plantings by LICI volunteers over a five week period took place at the town of Lockport, La.'s boardwalk.

More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/lici-adds-another-boardwalk-to-its-list-of-projects



Photos above: In late December the first of three iris plantings over a one month period at the town of Jean Lafitte, La. Wetlands Trace boardwalk was completed by LICI volunteers.


More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/lici-volunteer-event-is-written-about-by-the-the-associated-press


Photos above: In the first days of January, 2021 an iris planting was completed at the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail trailhead in Breaux Bridge, La. and on the same day irises were planted at the Chitimacha Tribal Nation of Louisiana in Charenton, La. (right).


More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/lici-in-bayou-country



Photos above: On January 9th LICI did an iris planting as part of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s (CRCL) cypress tree planting event in the Manchac swamp located south of Ponchatoula, La. This was the first iris planting of what we hope will be many more in the coming years with CRCL.


More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/cypress-trees-and-irises-planted-in-the-manchac-swamp-on-a-crcl-project



Photos above: On January 13th a group of LICI volunteers planted irises at the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge near Houma, La. These added to the irises that were planted there in 2019.


Photo above: On January 16th LICI organized an iris planting in a freshwater bog at The Nature Conservancy’s Grilletta Tract in Grand Isle, La. Members of the Native Plant Initiative, Grand Isle Garden Club and the Terrebonne Parish Bird Club helped LICI volunteers get the irises planted. This was the second year irises have been planted on this property in what is expected to be a long-term project on The Nature Conservancy’s Grand Isle properties.


More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/lici-iris-planting-at-the-nature-conservancy-s-property-in-grand-isle-la



Photos above: Four days later on January 20th volunteers from Common Ground Relief worked with LICI volunteers to plant irises in the swamp next to the Cajun Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau's visitor’s center in Morgan City, Louisiana. It was the third iris planting completed there during January.


More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/lici-iris-planting-at-the-cajun-coast-visitors-center



Photos above: On January 24th a small group of LICI volunteers planted irises at the Joyce Wildlife Management area, which is located south of Ponchatoula, La. This was the first of three iris plantings completed within a three week period. Over 1,000 irises were added to the irises that have been planted there over the last three years.


Photo above: On January 27th LICI organized an iris planting at Fontainebleau State Park near Mandeville, La. Volunteers from the St. Tammany Master Gardeners Association, Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater New Orleans, Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans, Sierra Club of Slidell, Common Ground Relief, Limitless Vistas and LICI volunteers planted over 1,000 irises and 20 cypress trees. This was the third, and largest, iris planting at the site in the last two years.


More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/lici-iris-planting-in-fontainebleau-state-park




Photo on right: Two days later LICI volunteers planted irises in a new project at the 40 Arpent Wetlands Observatory in Chalmette, La.








Photos Above: On February 10th LICI volunteers planted irises at the US Park Service's Chalmette Battelfield in Chalmette, La. as the first planting in this new project. The plan is to do a significant iris planting in the fall of 2021 if this test planting does well over the summer.

More information on this planting can be found here: https://www.licisaveirises.com/post/iris-planting-at-the-us-park-service-s-chalmette-battlefied


Photo above: I. giganticaerulea Louisiana species irises blooming in a remote spot within the US Fish & Wildlife Service's Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans East. This clump of blooming irises started as two small pots of irises planted three years ago by Common Ground Relief as part of their nearby cypress tree planting. The irises had been forgotten until last spring when the photographer happen to come upon them while hiking a trail in the refuge and took this picture. Its what all of the volunteers that planted irises in each location these last five months hope to see for years to come as a result of their hard work.

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The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative, Inc. is a Louisiana non-profit corporation that has been formed for the purpose of organizing Louisiana iris rescue and planting projects involving wild, native irises threatened with destruction.