Little Spokane River

We're working to better understand and reduce pollution in the Little Spokane River and its tributaries. Pollution problems include high temperature, too much bacteria, and low dissolved oxygen. There are additional studies underway and several projects to help reduce pollution and improve water quality.

Water quality problems

The Little Spokane River and some of its tributaries, Dragoon Creek and Deadman Creek, have been identified as not meeting clean water requirements, according to our water quality assessments. Pollution problems include:

  • High temperature, bacteria, and pH
  • Low dissolved oxygen
  • High levels of PCBs
  • Too much sediment in the water column (turbidity)

What we are doing

We partnered with the Spokane County Conservation District to develop a water quality improvement plan that addresses fecal coliform bacteria, temperature, and turbidity. The plan identifies sources of pollution.

We are currently working on a plan to address low dissolved oxygen and high pH in various streams in the watershed. This plan will also address the total phosphorus load that comes into Lake Spokane at the mouth of the Little Spokane River, which is required by the Spokane River and Lake Spokane Dissolved Oxygen water quality improvement plan.

Several studies were conducted to determine the nutrient, dissolved oxygen, and pH levels in the Little Spokane River watershed streams and lakes. We are analyzing the results of these studies and will produce a draft water quality improvement report (TMDL) for these water quality problems at the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Once both plans for Little Spokane are complete, we'll develop a more detailed approach that outlines specific activities to improve water quality.