I'm kind of confused about the relationship between agencies, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service and the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service maintains this amazing web site where you can get real-time water conditions anywhere in the country. I have been using it locally because I wade fish, but I'm finding myself even more interested recently because I started kayaking last year.
So I kept trying to find a way to display my nearby river gauge info on this blog, kind of like the weather widgets you see on sites all the time, displaying the weather at a vacation destination or golf course or something. Thanks to blogspot's ease of use I came close, but the RSS feed from the NOAA site was only displaying the location of the gauge, not the river level itself. So I felt like the RSS feed was the key, but couldn't figure it out until the webmaster of that site responded to my email with the suggestion to try another service to create the RSS feed widget.
The result is the widget you see at the top right of this page. Hardly worth a post explaining the process, I suppose, as the information is more for me than anyone else. But I wanted to acknowledge that a big organization like NOAA took the time to answer my question and help me work through it so I could get this little bit of code to work on my blog. Pretty cool.