The state Climatology Office is looking for volunteer rainfall monitors for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).

The network includes more than 20,000 volunteers nationwide who measure precipitation in their backyards using a standard 4-inch rain gauge.

The rainfall monitoring is performed by individuals who submit their reports online. Volunteers should follow Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for social distancing while performing the work.

Climatologist and state CoCoRaHS coordinator Pete Boulay said the data from backyard rain gauges is helpful and important in many ways.

“The information provided by volunteers helps to verify high rain totals after big events, monitor drought and flooding, make our precipitation maps more accurate, and it provides needed guidance on Minnesota’s changing climate,” Boulay said.

“We need more volunteers to help fill gaps where people aren’t observing and reporting precipitation values.”

Volunteers are most needed outside the Twin Cities metro area.

Volunteers receive training on how to observe weather trends and how to submit their precipitation and weather event reports. All training material is available online. Volunteers must purchase or provide a standard 4-inch rain gauge (available at a discount through CoCoRaHS), and have internet access to submit reports.

To sign up or for more information, visit or contact Pete Boulay at

john Reinan


More money for estuary cleanup

More federal and state money is coming to help clean up pollution where the St. Louis River meets Lake Superior.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for a $4.5 million project to remediate contaminated sediment in an active shipping slip at the Duluth-Superior Harbor.

The state is set to contribute nearly $1.6 million of the cost to remediate about 55,000 cubic yards of sediment in the Azcon/Duluth slip, according to an announcement from U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Minn.

Remediation efforts in the slip, contaminated with heavy metals, dioxin/furans, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, will include removing about 600 cubic yards of sediment and capping the rest.

The project is one of many underway to restore the area listed as a Great Lakes Areas of Concern three decades ago by an international commission.

Pam Louwagie