The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System: Governance Milestones and Lessons From Two Decades of Growth
Reflecting on two decades of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) is particularly timely during the OceanObs'19 meeting. Over the past twenty years since the first OceanObs meeting was convened, U.S. IOOS has advanced from regional proofs of concept to a national, sustained enterprise. U.S. IOOS has grown to include 17 Federal partners and 11 Regional Associations (RAs) that implement regional observing systems covering all U.S. coasts and Great Lakes with activities spanning from head of tide to the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as lead agency, provides guidance and national-level coordination. An interagency body, the Integrated Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC), communicates across federal agencies and ensures IOOS maintains strong connections to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Additionally, a federal advisory committee, non-federal association, and various informal partnerships further inform and advance the IOOS enterprise. This governance structure fosters both national consistency, regional flexibility, and global contributions addressing the diverse needs of U.S. coastal and Great Lakes stakeholders.