Announcement: Spokane River In-Stream Flow Rule Making

Date: January 22, 2014
From: Washington State Department of Ecology
Subject: Spokane River Instream Flow Rule-making

We would like to share some important information with you about our intent to begin rule-making to protect the Spokane River. Ecology is filing paperwork with the State Code Reviser that allows us to begin the development of an instream flow rule.

The purpose of an instream flow rule is to protect and preserve water in streams for “instream resources” including fish, wildlife, recreational uses, wastewater management, and hydropower.   An instream flow rule will also give the river a water right, much like we give individuals, farms and municipalities. In order to issue the river a water right, the state has to go through the process of issuing a rule.

Once an instream flow is set Ecology will use the rule as a regulatory flow threshold to determine whether there is water to withdraw for new uses while still protecting fish and other instream resources.

Ecology approaches instream flow rules differently in each watershed basin. Over time we have learned and adapted means used to protect our water resources. Each rule area has unique needs due to geography, geology, population, and local water management. We remain committed to protecting instream resources and overcoming challenges by collaborating with the communities impacted by these rules.

We look forward to working with you through an open process with robust public input opportunities during rule-development. Keeping water in the Spokane River is a priority for all of us. A clean and flowing river is good for the environment and good for our economy.

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