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St. Bernard State Park added to the LICI iris restoration projects list.

October 27, 2020 Braithwaite, LA

The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) would like to welcome a new location into our growing list of properties where we are doing projects to manage, preserve or increase the number of native species Louisiana irises. In this new location we will be doing all three over the coming months. The location is the Louisiana St. Bernard State Park, which is located in Braithwaite, LA just southeast of New Orleans.

The volunteers worked Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at the park digging up threatened irises to take to the LICI iris holding area to strengthen them up for replanting back into the park in a couple of months, planted 200 new I. giganticaerulea Louisiana species irises to add to an existing clump of irises and cleared brush from the pond shoreline where the irises were planted.

A big "Thank You!" goes out to park manager, Ginger Theriot, for taking the time away from her hurricane Zeta preparations to meet with LICI representatives to review our proposed projects that morning. "She not only met with us, she approved all of the projects on the spot, so we decided since we had some volunteers with us to go ahead and get started!", LICI's Gary Salathe said.

"Thanks!" also goes out to the Executive Director of Common Ground Relief, Charlotte Clark, for not only supplying some volunteers for the project, but also getting down in the muck helping out herself.

Photo: A group effort.

The activity was organized by the Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative as the first of what will be many more for this new long-term project at St. Bernard State Park.

A large outdoor pavilion within the picnic area is just a 20 yards from the linear pond where the irises were planted.

The iris planting was done in the park's picnic area.

Photo: Volunteers begin work by digging up a clump of existing irises.

Volunteers begin work by digging up a clump of irises. that a board of directors member of LICI discovered two years ago in a heavily wooded area of the park near the picnic area's parking lot. Between the heavy shade from the trees, as well as competing with the tree roots for moisture during the summer, the clump of irises has been slowly shrinking each year. Its doubtful it would have lasted more than another year or so in this location.

The plan was to dig up these irises and plant them into containers at the LICI iris holding area to strengthen them up over the next two or three months. They will then be brought back to the park and planted in a better location.

Photo: The second existing clump of I. giganticaerulea species Louisiana irises.

Another existing clump of I. giganticaerulea species of the Louisiana iris was also found two years ago growing along a linear pond that runs through the center of the park's picnic area. It is doing much better because of being along the water's edge and there being much less trees nearby to shade them during the summer. The trees lose their leaves during the winter, which is the growing season for the irises. The day's work included adding more I. giganticaerulea irises to this existing clump and then clear out the underbrush from along the pond bank so that the irises will be in full view when they bloom next spring.

Photo: The volunteers working planting irises along the linear pond.

About 200 new I. giganticaerulea irises were added to the pond bank near the existing clump of irises.

Photo: A section of the completed project at day's end.



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