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The Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative (LICI) installs a new iris holding area.

June 5, 2020 New Orleans, La.

On the morning of Friday, June 5th volunteers set up an iris holding area in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans. The lot is owned by Common Ground Relief, a local non-profit engaged in wetland's restoration projects using volunteers from around the country. The lot is next door to Common Ground Relief's wetland plant nursery. They have offered the site to LICI to propagate Louisiana irises for iris restoration projects.

Platforms were created by using cinder blocks and used wooden pallets. The raised platforms will make weeding the containers much easier. Each waterproof black container will act as a mini-swamp to keep the irises in water saturated soil.

The iris holding area is being set up to temporarily hold irises that will be dug up on LICI's iris rescue projects or from donations of irises from the public. The LICI locates wild species irises that are threatened with destruction from properties that are going to be developed. They then organize volunteers to go in and dig the irises up. The irises will then be planted in these containers at this holding area. Since many of the irises came from a habitat that is not the best they are stressed and digging them up further weakens the plants. By having them spend a few months in these containers filled with rich soil and being kept moist they we strengthen up before being moved into their permanent home in area refuges.

The irises shown being planted were dug up the day before in Mandeville, La. by other volunteers from a homeowner's yard. The homeowner had dug up a few wild irises from the swamp near his neighborhood years ago and now they needed to be thinned out. The Louisiana irises were identified as the I. giganticaerulea species iris when they bloomed in March. They will spend the next few months growing in the containers at the iris holding area until they are planted in the area's swamps and marshes. This batch of irises is slated to be used at the Town of Jean Lafitte's wetlands boardwalk and the boardwalk at the Joyce Wildlife refuge, which is located south of Ponchatoula, La.

The volunteers that set up LICI's iris holding area were residents of New Orleans from different walks of life that wanted to help out. If you would like to help on LICI's projects, email your contact information to



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