||Coastal prairie once covered 1.1 million ha in southwest Louisiana and 2.8 million ha in Texas. Today, less than 0.1% remains due to intensive agricultural practices and loss to urban sprawl. In Louisiana, less than 100 ha remain primarily as narrow fragmented strips between highways and railroad rights-of-way. In an attempt to restore prairie and document the practical aspects of prairie restoration, 98 ha near Gueydan, Louisiana, have been enrolled in the USDA NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program. In 2002, 45 ha were restored to pre-cultivation hydrology by removing levees, and pimple mounds were constructed to mimic historic topographic features. The restoration plan includes large-scale demonstrations comparing spring and fall planting (April and October 2003) at 3.4, 6.7, and 11.2 pls kg ha-1 using a prairie seed mixture consisting primarily of little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash]. The following species
were interseeded into the spring and fall planted areas: switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Florida paspalum (Paspalum floridanum), Kansas gay feather (Liatris pycnostachya), yellow wild indigo (Baptisia bracteata), black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta), bur marigold (Bidens aristosa), plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria), partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculate), and wooly rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos). To increase diversity, 1,500 pieces of prairie sod from a remnant area scheduled for destruction were transplanted on the restoration site by a volunteer group of 275 people on 01 Feb. 2003. This project is a multiple partner and agency effort that will
evaluate success, assist in future restoration attempts, and foster the importance of this endangered ecosystem. Demonstration results are pending.