Biodiversity is an important measure of human impact on the ecosystem. This is a parameter we do not have a good measurement of for the City of Spokane. We do know that concrete, brick, asphalt, roofing materials, pesticides, herbicides, and mono-cultured lawns are factors in reducing the diversity of life.
The Regional Health District and the State Department of Health are good resources for information on disease, including things like hantavirus, west nile, and more. City government provides some of the basic infrastructure for a healthy environment: clean drinking water, sanitary solid waste and waste water handling.
The federal government has a process for identifying endangered and threatened species. In addition it regulates activities of humans to help prevent extinctions. There are a number of threatened and endangered species in this region with information provided here.
The City and surrounding region are impacted by a number of invasive plants and animals. Efforts to reduce the numbers of these organisms will enhance Spokane's environment and increase biodiversity. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board maintains a list of non-native plants introduced to Washington State including Dalmation Toadflax and Eurasian Watermilfoil. The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife has information on aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussel.
The City's urban forest is a significant aesthetic attribute in this near semi-desert environment. Urban trees offer shade with significant air quality and water quality benefits. They sequester carbon and provide added benefits such as fruits, nuts, and wood. The urban trees can cause problems when they interfere with the built environment such as those that raise and break sidewalks, block sewer lines, touch power lines, and plug stormwater drains with leaves.