Rivers, lakes and streams, along with wetlands and oceans, are all types of surface water. The 2005 USGS Water Science webpage includes a thorough review of surface water use in the United States.
Spokane County surface water dots our landscape and carves paths toward the Spokane and Columbia Rivers. There is much to know about the Spokane County watersheds and the links below provide a great deal of that information.
The Spokane River is a tributary of the Columbia River and is approximately 111 miles long. It originates from the north end of Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho and empties into Lake Roosevelt, a segment of the Columbia River. 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 its two major tributaries.
When we think of water quality, we generally either think of our tap water used for drinking and showering or our rivers, lakes and streams used for irrigation, fishing and recreation. Clean, potable drinking water and clean, cool rivers and lakes are essential for the quality of life we've come to expect from the Inland Northwest. While the aquifer and rivers are a natural resource gift, it is not by accident that they are the quality they are. Over the years, the residents of North Idaho and Eastern Washington have contributed to these waterways in good ways and in bad.
Watershed planning is a citizen-based activity that determines the needs of a watershed and guides the necessary actions for the healthiest watershed possible. Learn more about watershed planning and Spokane County watersheds specifically.
Instream flows are a new concept to many people but have been around for decades. In fact, a minimum instream flow water right for the Little Spokane River was established in 1976. Learn more about the purpose and status of instream flows in Washington State.