A new project is asking residents how to close West Marin’s communication gaps. A coalition of agencies and community organizations supported by the West Marin Fund launched a survey this week in the first stage of an effort to bridge language, technology and geographic barriers. “We love living here, but the communication system can be a bit disjointed,” said Mia Johnson, co-chair of the West Marin Equitable Communication Project. “It’s a little bit of a game of telephone at times.” The project’s advisory committee is made up of around 30 organizations, including school districts, utility providers and media outlets, many of which will send out the survey through mailing lists. The survey gathers basic demographic data before diving into questions about modes of receiving information: Whether the recipient has a cell phone, a landline, a computer and social media accounts. Finally, it leaves room for open-ended suggestions about how West Marin could better communicate. “We don’t know exactly what phase two of this project is going to look like,” Ms. Johnson said. Around 10 percent of West Marin residents speak a language other than English at home, and Spanish is by far the most common, according to census data. Translation into Spanish is one key way to bridge barriers, but Ms. Johnson said there are other languages that can fall through the cracks, like Indigenous Central American languages, which have a handful of speakers in Bolinas. Beyond language, Ms. Johnson cited technology barriers like spotty cell and internet service, a lack of tech literacy, and the cost of electronics. Sarah Hobson, executive director of the West Marin Fund, said the communications project was spurred by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last spring, when organizations large and small had to react to and disseminate rapidly changing public health guidance. Beyond health information, disaster preparedness and school updates are some of the most crucial communication needs. The project’s leaders know they won’t hear back from everyone. “It’s ironic, because it’s a communication survey and we may not be able to communicate with everyone to do the survey,” Ms. Johnson said. West Marin is historically undercounted in the United States Census, and last year’s census was no exception. All four of the census tracts that make up West Marin were in the bottom 20 percent of self-response rates in the nation, partly because of the high number of temporary residents, the lack of mailing addresses and spotty internet connection. Yet Ms. Hobson said the project’s leaders are hopeful their survey will garner higher response rates and begin to address some of the failings of the census. “We recognize there are still many barriers, but we have a few things in our favor,” she wrote in an email. “This is not a government initiative; it’s a locally defined and driven initiative.” Find the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WMCommSurveyEnglish.