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Sauvie Island resident gets environmental award

Jane Hartline recognized for restoration work on Sauvie Island


by: ROBIN JOHNSON - Jane Hartline, founder of the Sauvie Island Habitat Partnership, works with a crew of volunteers to survey amphibian egg masses in a Scappoose wetland. From left: Hartline, Shawn Looney, Daniel Evans and Lona PierceJane Hartline, founder of the Sauvie Island Habitat Partnership, was given the Alfred Edelman Environmental Award on May 10 for her volunteer work in restoring native habitats in the Sauvie Island area.

After retiring from her position as marketing manager at the Oregon Zoo two years ago, Hartline formed the Sauvie Island Habitat Partnership as an effort to define local habitats and catalogue the native plants that belong within them.

Hartline uses the gathered information to restore habitats on the island that have deteriorated as a result of development.

“I wanted to figure out what plants are supposed to be here and put them back,” she said.

Hartline said that, while he was honored to receive the award, the hard work of other volunteers could not be overlooked.

“There are a lot of people that have been important,” she said. “Part of what I’ve done is rope a lot of people into helping do things. They’re awesome. Everything we’ve been doing, it’s been a team effort, so that’s cool. You start pulling the wagon and people jump on board.”

Hartline identified 11 priority habitat restoration projects for the island, including turtle monitoring, landowner education, wildlife corridor native plantings, un-clogging Sturgeon Lake and more.

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK GREENFIELD  - Jane Hartline, founder of the Sauvie Island Habitat Partnership, accepts and Alfred Edleman Environmental Award for her environmental restoration work.A February Spotlight article, “Frog Crossing,” highlighted Hartline’s and other volunteers’ efforts to catch frogs descending from Forest Park and transport them by car to wetlands to lay eggs. Otherwise, Hartline said, many of the amphibians would have bene run over by cars while crossing Highway 30.

One of Hartline’s biggest projects has been islandwide removal of the invasive vine English ivy.

Over the past three years, Hartline has organized volunteers to clear English ivy out of a 1.5-acre forest behind the Sauvie Island Grange.

“Right now, we’re obsessed with killing ivy,” Hartline said. “We’ve gotten most of it along the island and are moving on to Highway 30 and the St. Johns Bridge.”

An upcoming project involves her effort to build wet prairie habitats on the island. Hartline said about two-thirds of Sauvie Island was made up of flower and grass prairies before agriculture took over. So far, the Sauvie Island Habitat Partnership has planted a number of wildflowers on the island at Wapato State Park and Oak Island.

“A lot of Sauvie Island was converted to pasture for dairies,” she said. “Now, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife owns a huge chunk of that, but nobody’s really tackled [the question], ‘How do we bring back prairies?’”

Hartline said wetland prairies are defined by various grasses and flowers largely absent of trees and shrubs, and said restoring the island so that two-thirds of it is wetland prairie would be the goal.

“Prairies are very hard to do,” she said. “So many non-native weeds and European grasses were introduced for pastures. They engulf the flowers. Its a big job and one I’ve thought about a lot. We don’t need to convert the whole island — agricultural land is important as well. In the lands that are out of agricultural use, we can do some prairies.”