When asked to indicate their level of agreement with a set of statements about the OBBN, participants agreed most strongly that the OBBN is "credible" (89% agreed; n=38), "relevant" (97% agreed; n=39), "legitimate" (91% agreed; n=35), "inclusive" (86% agreed; n=37), and that "participants are engaged in monitoring that supports their own mandates" (92% agreed; n=39).
Most respondents agreed with the following claims about OBBN implementation: that the OBBN has removed barriers to participation (71% agreed; n=34), that the OBBN has improved the effectiveness (86% agreed; n=35) and efficiency (85% agreed; n=34) of benthos biomonitoring, that methods have struck a reasonable balance between standardization and flexibility (78% agreed; n=37), and that the OBBN is cost effective (73% agreed; n=33).
Most participants indicated that they were either "somewhat satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the following OBBN products: Protocol Manual (100% of respondents; n=35), training (90% of respondents; n=31), certification (85% of respondents; n=27), and applied research (100% of respondents; n=19).
When asked open-ended questions about how the OBBN could be "changed to improve (the respondent's) satisfaction," participants made several recommendations: they called for greater attention to completing Network components (especially the database and analytical software), better integration with the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network, improved training, and increased funding.
Our Questionnaire permitted us to investigate OBBN influences on social capital at two different scales: impacts on respondents' personal social networks, and impacts on the collective OBBN social network.
Thirty-five percent of respondents reported that OBBN involvement had increased the influence (or impact) of their personal social network (n=34), and 81% perceived a general increase in participants' influence (or impact) that followed their joining the Network (n=31).
Forty-one percent of respondents reported that their participation in civic environmental activities had increased since joining the OBBN (n=39).
Our Questionnaire provided particularly strong evidence of OBBN-related increases in participants' knowledge: 82% of respondents rated their increase in biomonitoring-related knowledge since joining the OBBN as either a 3, 4, or 5 on a five-point ordinal scale, on which 1 indicated "no increase" and 5 indicated "dramatic increase" (n=39).
The OBBN does favour the participation of those with post-secondary education and moderate to high income levels.
The OBBN is a partnership: while the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Environment Canada coordinate the Network, train, certify and provide technical support to its members, participants do most of the sampling and sample processing.
non-government-participant balance of control and investment to be acceptable; most participants believe the Network to be credible, relevant, legitimate, and inclusive; most participants are satisfied with OBBN products (e.
Although Network coordinators may be encouraged by these results, we caution that questionnaire responses suggest that satisfactory long-term performance depends on the following conditions: network components being delivered on time and subsequently refined if shortcomings are identified; high data-quality-assurance standards; stable (or increasing) funding; links being demonstrated between bioassessment results and water management; long-term involvement of existing members, as well as additional recruitment; and integrating the OBBN with existing and new programs.