Researchers who need help monitoring the flow of Lake Superior tributaries in and around the Duluth-Superior area are seeking volunteers to text in their observations.

Local scientists set up a crowd-sourcing application a few years ago that allows folks out on a walk to look at a water gauge and send the measurement by text. No science skills are required; the gauges look like giant rulers; and anyone with a cellphone can do it — no smartphone required.

There are 17 water depth gauges in eight streams that feed into Lake Superior, mostly in Duluth and one in Superior; find locations at They are all part of the effort. There’s no limit to how many people can be involved or send data. The more, the better.

Streams have just about peaked in the region due to snowmelt but can "flash'' high after heavy rain events.

Scientists, researchers and natural resource managers can also use the data to understand how streams respond to weather and climate. This information can help scientists and researchers build better flood models, as well as help managers and planners make better informed decisions.