River Art: Fish Made of Elwha Dam Rebar

rebar steel salmon

Salmon art crafted from rebar removed
from the Elwha Dam

What to do with all of the debris created by a dam removal? Serena posted about this last month, and I wanted to add one more way to repurpose old dam bits and pieces.

We made this fish art out of a piece of rebar from Elwha Dam. When we picked it out of the rubble pile it was tangled, brown and rusty. Our talented welder friend polished it up and transformed it into a beautiful silver salmon. The base of the piece symbolizes the estuary, where the Elwha meets the sea. And sitting on the base are dam chunks from three recent Northwest dam removals – pieces of concrete from Elwha Dam, Condit Dam, and Marmot Dam.

We gave this fish to Andrew Fahlund, our senior vice president of conservation, who is leaving American Rivers after 15 years to serve as executive director of Stanford University’s Water in the West program.

It’s a fitting gift for Andrew because he helped build the modern dam removal and river restoration movement. He spearheaded scores of river restoration and protection successes over the years. The river community wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for Andrew.

This fish symbolizes all of his victories and the magic and beauty of our work – bringing rivers to life.

So thanks to a dear friend and colleague, and best of luck on your next adventure! I know we’ll see you on the river.