Spokane River Basin

Photo of a Spokane River

Photo of Jeremy Schmidt - ERO TCP

River Facts:

  • The Spokane River (map) flows 112 miles from Post Falls Dam, Idaho to Lake Roosevelt (the Upper Columbia River) in Washington.
  • Seven dams along the river generate hydroelectricity.
  • The River encompasses over 6,000 square miles in Washington and Idaho.
  • Hangman (Latah) Creek and the Little Spokane River are two of the major tributaries.
  • As many as 17 fish species could be encountered in the river from Idaho to Nine Mile Dam.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

For special accommodations or documents in an alternate format, call (509) 329-3546, 711 (relay service), or 877-833-6341 (TTY).  For more information see Ecology's ADA Accessibility page.

Projects making a difference

Ecology, tribes, other agencies, stakeholders, and the general public are working to find wise solutions and improve and preserve the Spokane River.  Links to some of these projects are listed below and in the columns on the left and right.

Cleanup Completed at 8 Beach Sites and/Upriver Dam/Donkey Island

Historic mining practices in the Coeur d’Alene basin resulted in contaminants known as heavy metals washing downstream from Idaho.  These metals such as lead, arsenic, zinc, and cadmium settled in sediments at certain shorelines along the Spokane River.  Eight beaches identified for cleanup are now completed.  PCBs at Upriver Dam and Donkey Island were also addressed.

Fish Consumption Rates

Ecology has engaged citizens throughout the state in a dialogue about current fish consumption rates.  Public hearings were held and comments evaluated.  A new technical document is now available.

Instream flow rule-making for the Spokane River

Keeping water in the Spokane River is a priority for all of us.  We have begun the process that allows the development of an instream flow rule for the Spokane River and Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.  Once an instream flow is set, Ecology will use the rule as a regulatory flow threshold to determine whether there is water to withdraw for new uses while still protecting fish and other instream resources.

A clean and flowing river is good for the environment and good for our economy.  If you would like to be kept informed about this rule-making and receive updates, please sign up for the listserv at this link: please sign up for our listserv.

Kaiser Trentwood Closure Plan

Ecology is seeking public comment September 4 to October 4, 2013 to finalize the 2010 Closure Plan revised in August 2013.  The Kaiser site is located at 15000 East Euclid Avenue, along the Spokane River in the Spokane Valley.

Ecology's Hazardous Waste Program is working with Kaiser to close 3 specific hazardous waste units.  Kaiser is required to meet federal (RCRA1) closure requirements for all hazardous waste management units.  The closure requirements ensure all hazardous wastes are removed and properly managed, and any contamination is cleaned up.

Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force

Thirteen governmental agencies, private industries, and environmental organizations signed a Memorandum of Agreement to form the task force.  The task force is leading efforts to find and reduce toxics in the Spokane River and Lake Spokane.

Strategy for Reducing Toxics in the Spokane River Watershed

This is Ecology’s strategy, or “road map,” for reducing and removing toxic contamination in water, water sediments and soil in the Spokane River watershed in Washington State. It includes major actions already accomplished. The strategy spans across multiple Ecology programs and address toxic substances in the products we buy to cleanups of legacy pollutants in the Spokane community. This is a living document; we will build on this road map, adding new initiatives, strategies and successes while it is being implemented.

Urban Waters Initiative

A team of Ecology scientists, technical staff, and specialists from the Spokane Regional Health District are sampling water and visiting businesses along the river to identify sources of toxic chemicals that affect the river.  Reports that track sources may be found on the Urban Waters website.

Water Quality Improvement Projects (TMDLs)

Water Quality Assessment (303[d])

Get Involved in River Issues

Related Information


Photo of a Spokane River

Instream Flow Rule Making for Spokane River  For more information see:
Spokane rule making webpage

Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force - Funding Opportunities  01/14/2014

Ecology News Release - Ecology approves Spokane County’s shoreline master program  01/10/2013

Spokane River Urban Waters Source Investigation and Data Analysis Report 2009-2011 - Tracing the Source for PCB, PBDE, Dioxin/Furan, Lead, Cadmium, and Zinc

Liberty Lake Source Trace Study for PCB, PBDE, Metals, and Dioxin/Furan

Ecology News Release - Spokane River Regional Task Force – Improving the River 02/27/2012

Study finds PCBs are decreasing in the Spokane River, but are still at unhealthy levels. 

Related Information:


  Picture of fish