Water

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.

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

On October 8, 2015, Governor Inslee directed Ecology to draft a new clean water rule that will preserve the state's decision-making control over how to meet federal requirements.

Instream Flows for the Spokane River

Ecology adopted a rule to help preserve and protect its flow while balancing the needs of all water uses.  The rule set specific levels of stream flows that act as a regulatory threshold to determine whether water is available for new uses.

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.

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
Spotlight

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:

 FISH


  Picture of fish