Prairie Restoration in Louisiana

1994 CELouisiana

"Coastal tallgrass prairie was once abundant along the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. However, land conversion for agriculture and livestock has reduced the coastal prairie to under 1% of its pre-settlement area–from over 9 million acres to approximately 65,000 acres. Of this remaining area, only 100 acres can now be found in the state of Louisiana, and most of these are narrow strips lying along railroad rights-of-way. Due to the dire need for preservation of this endangered ecosystem, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service initiated the Duralde Cajun Prairie Restoration Project in Evangeline Parish in 1994. Project planners first arranged the purchase of 334 acres of Cajun Prairie (as the coastal prairie in Louisiana is known) and then conducted a range of restoration activities. The clearing of invasive tallow trees was the first step taken, and native plant species were later reintroduced by either transplanting native vegetation from imperiled prairie remnants or sowing seeds from the air. Observations made thus far suggest that transplanting has been more effective than seeding and that seeded areas may take as long as 10 years to fully recover. Nevertheless, more than 100 species of native Cajun Prairie plants have been re-established, and practitioners are hopeful that the site will eventually become an important sanctuary for the many species that depend upon the waning coastal prairie ecosystem for their survival."

“USA: Louisiana: The Duralde Cajun Prairie Restoration Project, Evangeline Parish,” Society for Ecological Restoration, https://www.ser-rrc.org/project/usa-louisiana-the-duralde-cajun-prairie-restoration-project-evangeline-parish/.

Image: Americannomad1776, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons