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LSU AgCenter gets $1M for research on wetlands roseau cane

March 10, 2019

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana researchers are getting $1 million for research on a plant that helps hold wetlands in place.

The money will let scientists study roseau cane and threats that include rising water and an insect called the roseau cane scale, according to the LSU AgCenter.

By understanding how stresses affect the cane, researchers hope to develop restoration plans tailored to specific regions in the delta, LSU AgCenter entomologist Rodrigo Diaz said in a news release.

Tall wetland grass is a critical anchor in Louisiana’s eroding coastal marshes and along the birdfoot delta at the Mississippi River’s mouth.

Roseau cane is normally one of the most erosion-resistant marsh plants on Louisiana’s coast, thriving in fresh and salty water. But it has been dying off, leaving open water.

Diaz and other AgCenter researchers have found that roseau cane health varies around the delta. They think one reason could be that some varieties are resistant to the cane scale, which was first found in the state in 2016.

Tests of those varieties are needed to tell the best time of year for planting, which plant species or varieties establish and grow best under a variety of conditions, and how big plants should be to have a good chance of surviving at a reasonable cost.

The money is in the federal appropriations bill passed in February.