The Little Spokane Watershed, also known as WRIA 55, is defined as the area that drains to the Little Spokane River, which in turn empties into the Lower Spokane River. It is located in Eastern Washington, in upper Spokane County, lower Pend Oreille County, and a small portion of Stevens County.
The Little Spokane River’s major tributaries are the East Branch, and Deadman Creek. The watershed includes various other tributary streams such as Bear, Buck, Deer, Dragoon, and Little creeks.
Existing water rights
Water rights have been issued in the Little Spokane Watershed for over 100 years, and as a result most water in the watershed is already legally spoken for or “appropriated.”
Instream flow rule
Instream flow rules are an element of water and river management that help maintain healthy ecosystems that support fish, communities, and economies. WRIA 55 has an Instream Flow Rule adopted to preserve the uses and values of individual rivers and streams within the WRIA.
In 2018, the Legislature passed a streamflow restoration law in response to the Hirst decision. The law helps improve streamflows to levels necessary to support robust, healthy, and sustainable native fish populations while providing water for homes in rural Washington. It directs 15 local planning groups, including one in WRIA 55, to develop watershed plans that offset impacts from new domestic permit-exempt wells and achieve a net ecological benefit within the watershed.
Find more information about water availability in WRIA 55 including acquiring water, finding existing water rights and learning more about instream flow rules in our Water Availability Focus Sheet linked below: