The Louisiana Iris

What we typically refer to as the Louisiana iris actually consists of five species native to Louisiana and surrounding regions in the Southeastern United States. Iris brevicaulis, Iris fulva, Iris giganticaerulea, Iris hexagona and Iris nelsonii are known as the Louisiana irises. These five species participate in interbreeding which results in the variety of irises we grow today.

It is suggested to plant Louisiana iris between the months of August and September when they are dormant for optimal results. However, if you prefer to pick out the colors and types of flowers, it is best to wait until the flowers are in bloom to be sure of what you are planting. Garden cultivation and hybridizing have caused Louisiana iris to bloom in shades of blue, red, yellow, pink, brown, white, purple, and more. The wide range of colors and native quality make it an attractive addition to aquatic gardens and ordinary flower beds. Louisiana irises will grow best with as much direct sunlight as possible.

Within their native habitats, irises often grow along freshwater bayous and sloughs. This wetland vegetation has little tolerance for salt water. The Louisiana iris is at risk due to dredging through wetlands leading to saltwater intrusion. CWPPRA hydrologic restoration and freshwater diversion projects help regulate salinity and restore the natural hydrology of wetlands, ultimately preserving the iris as well as other native plants and animals. Learn more about how to #ProtectOurCoast and its native species at lacoast.gov.

RAE Conference 2016

Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of bays and estuaries as essential resources for our nation. RAE member organizations restore coastal habitats in 11 estuaries and 16 states nationwide. RAE is also involved in the economics and valuation of estuaries, blue carbon, living shorelines, national advocacy, and a wide range of coastal restoration issues. The Coastal Society (TCS) is an organization that is dedicated to actively addressing emerging coastal issues by fostering dialogue, forging partnerships, and promoting communications and education. TCS is comprised of private sector, academic, and government professionals and students who are committed to promoting and effectively improving management of the coasts and ocean.

Restore America’s Estuaries and The Coastal Society hosted the 8th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and the 25th Biennial Meeting of The Coastal Society on December 10-15 at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans, La. The Summit is an international gathering encompassing all disciplines within the coastal and estuarine restoration and management communities. RAE and TCS  worked with 200 partnering and supporting organizations to develop the Summit program and welcomed more than 1,200 attendees from the restoration and management communities: non-profit and community organizations, Indian Country, academic and research institutions, businesses with an interest in the coast, and agencies from all levels of government. Restoration and management-interested groups or individuals gathered for an integrated discussion to explore issues, solutions, and lessons learned in their work. The theme of the 2016 conference, “Our Coasts, Our Future, Our Choice,” reflected the environmental, economic, and cultural importance of our coasts to residents of surrounding areas and to the nation as a whole.

To initiate the conference’s 550 oral presentations in 110 sessions, as well as 200 poster presentations, the Marc J. Hershman Opening Plenary session on “The Gulf of Mexico- Proving Ground for Regional Recovery Strategies” discussed how restoration in the Gulf is faring as enormous resources start to pour in. The subsequent days highlighted climate change, economic vitality, as well as coastal communities across the nation and the ecosystems they rely upon through sessions, a coastal film series,  and science communications coffee breaks. The closing plenary session covered “Changing Tides: What the New Congress and Administration Mean for Advancing Coastal Restoration and Management” with a panel discussion from leaders in coastal conservation, communications, and climate change policy. Among the 80 exhibitors was the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act. The CWPPRA exhibit debuted two new posters in the “Protect Our Coast” poster series campaign with accompanying banners in our photo booth, in addition to an array of available CWPPRA publications. As a follow up to the previous Brown Pelican and Louisiana iris posters, a coastal sunset scene and blue crab were each depicted. Participants were able to select from a variety of props to hold or wear while posing in front of the campaign poster banners. Participants posted their photos on multiple social media platforms with the campaign hashtag #ProtectOurCoast.

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Protect Our Coast

Did you know:

CWPPRA debuted a new poster series campaign entitled “Protect Our Coast.”

Each of the four posters in the series depict a coastal related image accompanied by an explanation of how the image connects to wetlands and CWPPRA.

iris_finalThe state’s designated wildflower, the Louisiana iris can be found along the margins of freshwater bayous and sloughs. Having little tolerance for salt water, the Louisiana iris is one of many plant species at risk from saltwater intrusion. Channels dredged through wetlands alter the natural hydrology, resulting in increased salinity and the loss of fresh water vegetation and organisms. CWPPRA hydrologic restoration and freshwater diversion projects regulate salinity and restore the natural hydrology of wetlands, preserving the iris and many other iconic Louisiana plants and animals.

sunset_finalCWPPRA –The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act– is federal legislation enacted to identify, engineer and design, and fund the construction of coastal wetlands restoration projects. These projects provide for the long-term conservation of wetlands and dependent fish and wildlife populations. Projects funded by CWPPRA are cost-effective ways of restoring, protecting, and enhancing coastal wetlands. CWPPRA has a proven track record of superior coastal restoration science and monitoring techniques in Louisiana.

 

crab_finalLouisiana accounts for over half of all commercial harvest landings in the Gulf of Mexico. Wetlands, particularly coastal marshes, play an imperative role in the life cycle of about 90% of Gulf marine species, including the blue crab. Providing a protective nursery, wetlands house an immensely diverse quantity of species that rely upon this habitat. CWPPRA aims to continue the protection and restoration of these essential habitats for wildlife, aquaculture, and fisheries.

 

pelican_finalMangroves, which are used for nesting by Louisiana’s Brown Pelican, are threatened by the loss of Louisiana’s barrier islands. These islands are vanishing at an alarming rate due to man-made changes to coastal Louisiana, including the leveeing of the Mississippi River. Recognizing the ecological importance of barrier islands and their critical role in reducing hurricane storm surge in Louisiana, CWPPRA has played a part in the restoration of nearly every barrier island and barrier headland in Louisiana’s Barataria Basin.

 

Download your CWPPRA Protect Our Coast poster here! Don’t forget to spread coastal awareness by using the campaign hashtag #ProtectOurCoast!

SOC 2016

FullSizeRenderThe State of the Coast conference took place June 1-3rd in New Orleans, LA. The State of the Coast conference is an interdisciplinary forum to exchange timely and relevant information on the dynamic conditions of Louisiana’s coastal communities, environment, and economy and to apply that information to existing and future coastal restoration and protection efforts, policies, and decision-making. The conference is hosted by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana in partnership with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and The Water Institute of the Gulf. CWPPRA is a sponsor of State of the Coast.

Kimberly Davis Reyher, Executive Director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, began the conference with a brief welcome and an introduction of the welcome address speaker, Johnny Bradberry, Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Affairs and CPRA Chairman. The welcome was followed by a keynote address by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. During his speech, Governor Edwards stated, “Coastal dollars are going to be used for coastal issues. We are ready for more, bigger, and better projects. I did not become governor to watch south Louisiana wash away.”  In addition, the governor declared,

“coastal restoration is important in more ways than we can count if we want to remain the great State of Louisiana.”

Other plenary speakers included Michael Ellis, Executive Director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority; Chip Groat, President and CEO of The Water Institute of the Gulf; Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City of New Orleans; and Dr. Denise Reed, Chief Scientist at The Water Institute of the Gulf. Brad Inman, Senior Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chairman of the CWPPRA Planning and Evaluation Committee, presented The Status and Future of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act Program.

nutriaThe CWPPRA outreach exhibit at State of the Coast was an exciting stop for conference attendees. Through a partnership with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, participants were able to visit with a live alligator and nutria at the booth. Beignet the nutria demonstrated the tremendous quantity and speed at which nutria can eat, illustrating the destruction that they cause to coastal wetlands. Bootsie, an American Alligator, represented wetland wildlife that contributes to local economy and various industries. CWPPRA debuted a new poster series campaign entitled “Protect Our Coast.” Illustrated by CWPPRA Media Specialist Nikki Cavalier, the two posters depict the Louisiana iris and the Brown Pelican. The Protect Our Coast campaign theme was extended through a photo booth in the exhibit. Participants were able to select from a variety of props to hold or wear while posing in front of the campaign poster banners. Participants posted their photos on multiple social media platforms with the campaign hashtag #ProtectOurCoast.

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