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Monty Schmitt, Senior Scientist, San Joaquin River Project Manager, San Francisco

Monty Schmitt

For over 17 years, I have worked to restore rivers- from the riparian forests along the Sacramento and Big Sur rivers to my biggest challenge - returning flows and salmon to the San Joaquin. For nine years, I have worked at NRDC on the San Joaquin Project while also working on policy issues related to floodplain management as well as the effects of climate change on water resources. Not surprisingly, when not working, I often spend time kayaking rivers or surfing.

Recent Posts

Discovering Life along a River of Local and National Importance

Posted July 11, 2014 by Monty Schmitt in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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John Sutter, a CNN journalist, has just completed an incredible journey from source to sea on the San Joaquin River, the impetus for which was the designation in 2014 of the San Joaquin as one of the most endangered rivers...continued

(Re)Discovering the San Joaquin

Posted June 20, 2014 by Monty Schmitt in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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This week I had a chance to travel by kayak down 23 miles of the San Joaquin River just south of Mendota, CA with CNN reporter John Sutter, who is undertaking an ambitious journey to explore the River's entire 360...continued

Revival in the face of drought: The return of spring run Chinook salmon to the San Joaquin River

Posted April 17, 2014 by Monty Schmitt in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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  Despite California’s drought, today the San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) is releasing 54,000 juvenile spring-run Chinook salmon into the San Joaquin River. This marks the first time in 60 years that spring-run Chinook will make the journey from...continued

The San Joaquin: One of America's most endangered rivers poised for a come-back

Posted April 10, 2014 by Monty Schmitt in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Today, American Rivers released their 2014 list of the 10 most endangered rivers in the country.  The San Joaquin River sits at the very top of this list and unquestionably deserves this unfortunate distinction.  Diversion of over 70% of the...continued

The San Joaquin River's First Salmon Festival is a Huge Success

Posted November 11, 2013 by Monty Schmitt

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Last weekend, members of the San Joaquin River Partnership including NRDC, Trout Unlimited and the Parkway Trust hosted a salmon festival at Lost Lake Park near Fresno, right below Friant Dam. Over 300 people of all ages and representing the...continued

A New Era of Flood Management: Farms, Fish and Flood Protection

Posted November 8, 2013 by Monty Schmitt

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Something happened this week that probably would not have even occurred just five years ago – a farmer worked with conservation groups to sell his 497 acre dairy at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin Rivers to the...continued

(Re)Discovering the San Joaquin River: Water flows and salmon coming soon.

Posted November 6, 2013 by Monty Schmitt in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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In 1950, George Warner, a California Department of Fish and Game biologist, held one  of the very last salmon in the San Joaquin River. Spring-run Chinook salmon once numbered in the hundreds of thousands were nearly decimated after Friant Dam became...continued

Damming the Susitna River: The more you know the less you like it.

Posted October 7, 2013 by Monty Schmitt

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In the early 80’s when oil prices were at record level, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) received an application to construct a large hydropower dam on Alaska’s pristine Susitna River about 150 miles north of Anchorage.  Millions had been...continued

A Historic Day: Salmon Return to the San Joaquin River After 62 Years

Posted November 15, 2012 by Monty Schmitt in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

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Standing on the banks of the San Joaquin River earlier this week, I saw something I’ve waited over a decade to witness - a Chinook salmon gliding through the river’s clear water. For the first time in over 62 years,...continued

New Era for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Posted October 4, 2012 by Monty Schmitt in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

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The Regional Director for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Donald Glaser, today signed the San Joaquin River Restoration Program Record of Decision (ROD), completing a major five-year environmental planning and permitting effort, and signaling a new milestone in the restoration of...continued

Improving Public Safety and the Health of Rivers in California's Central Valley

Posted July 6, 2012 by Monty Schmitt in Living Sustainably

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On June 29th, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board adopted the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan – a plan created by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) over the past five years as required by legislation passed in 2007.  The...continued

It is Time to Restore Salmon to the San Joaquin River

Posted February 8, 2012 by Monty Schmitt in Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

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Last year marked the fifth year of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and the two year anniversary of renewed river flows - the first since the 1940s when the operation of Friant Dam dried up the river and...continued

Building Rivers: The Yolo Bypass - Hiding in Plain Sight

Posted September 23, 2011 by Monty Schmitt in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Building Rivers Blog Series A New Era of California Water Solutions Santa Monica and Other Cities Increase Water Self-Reliance The Yolo Bypass - Hiding in Plain Sight A Million Toilets Can't Be Wrong This post is part of an...continued

Oil Shale Development and Western Water Supply: A House of Cards...

Posted August 18, 2011 by Monty Schmitt in Curbing Pollution, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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At a time when management of the Colorado River Basin water supply is facing unprecedented challenges due to over allocation and climate change, energy companies are proposing to move forward with oil shale development - a water intensive, inefficient source...continued

H.R.1837 (Nunes): A waste of time and money that undermines real progress

Posted June 1, 2011 by Monty Schmitt in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

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At a time when water resource conflicts are common throughout the West, the San Joaquin River Restoration Program is a rare example of farmers, water districts, state and federal agencies and environmentalists working together to implement real solutions to problems...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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