Saltese Flats is in Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 57, the Middle Spokane River, generally southeast of the City of Spokane Valley. Saltese Flats was a natural, shallow lake/wetland system, until around 1900, when much of the area was drained for agriculture.
Runoff from the watershed drains north off of Saltese Flats into Saltese Creek and eventually into Shelley Lake. Shelley Lake has no surface water outlet. Water in Shelley Lake infiltrates into the ground and recharges the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie (SVRP) aquifer.
A study conducted in 2004 by the WRIA 55/57 Watershed Planning Unit and funded by the Washington Department of Ecology examined wetland restoration at Saltese Flats for water storage to delay runoff to Shelly Creek. The delayed runoff could then be allowed to recharge the SVRP aquifer later in the summer. Delayed recharge to the SVRP aquifer may help increase traditionally low summer flow in the Spokane River.