Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
Invest in unbiased information

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

Special District

Marin Municipal Water DistrictCandidate for Director, District 2

Photo of Monty Schmitt

Monty Schmitt

Environmental Watershed Scientist
9,697 votes (68.61%)Winning
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Ensuring safe, reliable and affordable water supplies.
  • Protection of natural resources including addressing the climate change impacts of increasing risk of wildfire and severe drought.
  • Well managed, reasonable and environmentally sustainable recreational access and use.



Profession:The Nature Conservancy, Senior Project Director
Senior Project Director, Water Program, The Nature Conservancy (2016–current)
Senior Water Resources Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council (2000–2016)
Assistant Director, Ventana Wilderness Society (1994–1997)
Restoration Assistant, The Nature Conservancy (1992–1993)


Humboldt State Masters in Science, Watershed Management (1999)

Community Activities

Member, Coleman Elementary School Dad's Group (2016–current)
Youth Soccer Coach, San Rafael Youth Sports (2016–current)
Board Member, Bret Harte Community Association Board (2014–2016)


Raised and educated along the California coast, I have always had a passion for the environment. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. The first few years of my career were spent implementing large scale riparian habitat restoration projects along the Sacramento River near Hamilton City and along the Big Sur River in Andrew Molera State Park. Inspired by these experiences, I went on to get my Masters in Science in Watershed Management from Humboldt State University and since have enjoyed a successful 25 year career in water supply and natural resource management.


For 16 years, I served as the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Senior Scientist working with diverse stakeholders to implement one of the largest restoration efforts in the nation, the San Joaquin River Restoration Project. Fundamental to every milestone I helped achieve was my ability to leverage science, foster trust, and enable productive decision-making with state and federal agencies, farmers and many of the most powerful water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and implement projects. Today, the river is coming back to life with more than six hundred million dollars spent in restoration, flood protection and water supply projects, much of which is scheduled to be completed in the next ten years.


Today I am working as a Senior Water Project Director at The Nature Conservancy.  I lead our efforts to restore the health of our Northern California rivers while increasing water supply reliability in the face of future droughts for landowners and local communities and to address the impacts of climate change on our water resources.


My career in water supply and natural resource management is driven by a love of the outdoors. As a young man, I often camped in the Los Padres National Forest. Later in life, wherever I moved for school or work, I explored nearby mountains in places like the Ventana Wilderness or kayaked rivers like the Eel, Trinity and Klamath in the Pacific Northwest. One of the main reasons why I love this area is because Marin exists side by side with nature, with amazing access to biking, hiking, and wildlife.


San Rafael is my home. I moved here 11 years ago and proposed to my wife Hilary on top of Mt Tam. Since then, we have been busy raising our 2 boys and being active in our community. I served on Bret Harte Community Association Board and continue to support our neighborhood events. I am a member of the Coleman Elementary School Dads Group and my wife, a high school teacher, serves on the Coleman PTO and together, we regularly participate in school fundraising efforts for all the students. I coach sports for my kids. I am also a member of the Marin Rod and Gun Club whose mission is conservation, preservation and propagation of fish and game in Marin County.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (1)

  • Sierra Club

Elected Officials (8)

  • Armando Quintero, retiring MMWD Division II Board Member
  • Congressman Jared Huffman
  • Marin County Supervisor Katie Rice
  • Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly
  • Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold
  • Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni
  • Larry Bragman, MMWD Board Member
  • Cynthia Koehler, MMWD Board Member

Individuals (7)

  • Leslie Alden, Co-Founder Marin Climate Action Network, Drawdown Bay Area
  • Grant Davis, General Manager Sonoma County Water Agency
  • David Behar, former MMWD Board Member
  • Mike Swezy, former MMWD Watershed Manager
  • Doug McConnell Television Journalist, Explore the Bay Area
  • Tom Boss, bike advocate
  • Jerry Meral - Former Executive Director Planning and Conservation League

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I have been a lifelong democrat and my entire professional career has been dedicated to wildlife conservation. My political philosophy, unsurprisingly, is liberal with an emphasis on protecting the environment and the benefits it provides for people and our communities. My approach to the politics associated with conservation have been informed by my more than 25 years as a senior environmental leader in California working collaboratively with water districts, farmers, state and federal agencies and conservation groups to restore rivers and fish populations, promote cost-effective water management policies and address the impacts of climate change on our water resources. I would summarize my philosophy and approach to the politics of conservation in the following three ways.


The first is to focus on the science. I have extensive experience collecting data and conducting studies as well as working collaboratively with the diverse stakeholders to develop flood management, river restoration and water supply plans. By focusing on the science and leveraging the best available information, parties with differing views move beyond divergent opinions and can come together to reach agreement and work together to implement projects, management actions or policies.


Secondly, take the time to listen to those with differing and work in good faith to find common ground. From my experience, this has been the most productive approach to achieve durable solutions and enduring trust.  The relationships you build with those you disagree can prove to be essential when running into areas of serious disagreement.  A personal example of this is when I was working for the Natural Resources Defense Council leading our efforts to implement a historic San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement we secured with farmers, water districts and the federal government in 2006. A few years later, the Settlement nearly collapsed when California went through one of the dries years on record in 2009. Water supply impacts were harming farms, communities and the environment and tensions were very high. But the trust we had built with stakeholders enable us to be creative and to find solutions and the Settlement persevered.  Today, the San Joaquin River is being restored, has year-round flows and the first runs of spring run salmon returning after almost 70 years.


Thirdly, my approach to conservation politics is to focus on finding multi-benefit solutions and fostering partnerships. Gone are the days of single purpose solutions that benefit a few at the expense of others. There are too many competing needs and interests surrounding virtually every resource management issue. This is a challenge on some levels, but it also can be an opportunity when stakeholder can focus on identifying solutions that provides multiple benefits. My work with floodplain management in the Central Valley is a great example. Well managed floodplains can improve public safety, provide critically important wildlife habitat, and increase groundwater supplies. Alignment of stakeholder interests can also form highly effective partnerships.  A local example of a partnership that harnesses the power of the combined interests of multiple agencies is One Tam. Each member agency benefits from working together to advance their own missions within the Mt Tam watershed.

Position Papers

Affordable Water Rates, Water Reliability, and Water Quality


I have the experience and leadership to meet the water needs of our whole community while protecting our environment. 

I understand the need for affordable water and I know how to efficiently manage costs. I have worked on water rate structure policy in California for decades addressing the tension between price, costs and incentives. I support rate structuring that balances the need to keep rates affordable, especially for low income residents and that rewards community members who conserve water, while also ensuring continued stable funding of water and natural resource management operations.

Everyone needs access to water and reliability is critical. I have 20 years experience addressing water supply reliability and planning for large districts in the Central Valley. I have also worked to ensure reliable water supply for rural landowners and communities in the North Coast. We need to address the growing threats of climate change, wildfire and droughts by planning ahead and taking actions now to increase the resilience of our watersheds and infrastructure.

We are faced with aging infrastructure that will need repairs and replacements in the years to come. Through efficient management of revenue we can effectively restore the needed infrastructure and ensure that our community has continued access to quality water for future generations.  



I love the outdoors, and love that our community in Marin exists side by side with nature, biking, hiking, and wildlife. I believe there is a way for us to enjoy our natural landscapes while helping them flourish and sustain each other.

I believe that we can have reasonable and sustainable access for recreation on MMWD land while maintaining the fundamental needs for safe and secure water supplies. I am a biker, hiker and river runner with expertise in fisheries, watershed management and flood control. I understand the challenges associated with recreational access to Water District lands. I have experience working with diverse interests to find mutually beneficial solutions that meet the needs of all parties.

Protection of Natural Resources


I know how to advance science-based solutions to protect the watersheds vital to Marin’s water supplies and address the growing threats of climate change, drought and wildfire.

My life has been dedicated to the protection of our natural resources and I will always be an advocate for environmental stewardship. From the time I was in graduate school at Humboldt State studying overwintering habitat for coho salmon, to my current work in northern coastal watersheds to restore salmon habitat, I have a deep understanding of the connection between land use and stream health. I will continue the work the Board has done to restore salmon habitat in Lagunitas Creek and be an advocate for conservation. 

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.