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 Rule Proposed for WA State

The proposed rule update is tied to toxics-reduction legislation Gov. Inslee is proposing to address toxics that enter the environment from unregulated everyday sources, such as consumer products.

Pie Chart of Protective Standards

Ecology has engaged citizens throughout the state for the past two years in a dialogue about fish consumption rates.  Now, the draft rule that updates the state of Washington’s Water Quality Standards for toxics, including an updated fish consumption rate, is available for public comment.

You may review the draft document and submit comments until midnight March 23, 2015 and attend one of four public hearings (Spokane, Yakima, or two in Lacey) to voice your opinion.

Instream Flow Rulemaking for the Spokane River

On January 27, 2015 Director Maia Bellon signed a new instream flow rule for the Spokane River and Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie (SVRP) Aquifer for the benefit of the community and the river.  The rule goes into effect February 27, 2015.

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

Spokane ISF Rule - CR103 Rule Adoption

Fish Consumption Rule Proposed for Washington State

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

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

Related Information:


  Picture of fish