37th Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School Recap

This year’s event in Marco Island was a resounding success, with participants gaining valuable insights into cutting-edge environmental solutions. 

In particular, we’d like to highlight the remarkable presentations by Mark Thomasson and Jack Fiveash, which delved into the fascinating realms of “Stormwater Nutrient Credit Trading, Smart Ponds and Resilience in Florida.”




Mark Thomasson, P.E.,

Executive Vice President, Director of Engineering and Science – Chief Stormwater Engineer


Water Quality Credit Trading

Mark Thomasson served on a panel of experts that examined some recent examples of innovative nutrient trading, evaluated the legislation filed in 2022, and discussed some new approaches to managing nutrients in impaired watersheds. 

Mark took attendees on a journey into the world of “Smart Ponds” and how they are revolutionizing water quality management with the stormwater nutrient credit market in Florida.

He shed light on how the integration of sensors, data analytics, and real-time monitoring can transform these ponds into intelligent systems. These “Smart Ponds” can autonomously adjust water levels, optimize treatment capacity, and their operation to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Mark Thomasson, P.E.

Webinar: A Year in the Life of a Smart Pond

For the first time, the National Stormwater Trust, Inc. live-streamed a webinar directly from Marco Island. A total of 71 attendees joined the presentation led by Mark to gain case study insights from a look back at the first year of a smart stormwater pond.

John “Jack” Fiveash 

CEO and Co-Founder of NST

Does Florida Need a New Resilient Approach to Development?

Jack Fiveash was on a panel that delved into the critical topic of resilience in Florida’s complex environmental landscape. His presentation was focused on “Water Quality and Flood Resiliency: Becoming Fixers.”

Jack discussed the National Stormwater Trust’s work for Babcock Ranch and the Florida Department of Transportation, initiatives aimed at managing and mitigating the impacts of stormwater runoff by investing in ‘Smart Pond’ infrastructure. 

Jack Fiveash


Lessons Learned…

The audience came prepared with ideas and ready to participate in what was a lively and thought-provoking discussion! 

As we move forward, we’re excited to see how these concepts will shape the future of stormwater management and sustainable development not only in Florida but across the globe.

Whether in-person or on the live-stream, presentations left attendees inspired by the prospects of merging stormwater technology for a more sustainable future.

Stay tuned for more updates, and thank you for being part of our engaged community!

WEBINAR: Smart Ponds 101

Join the National Stormwater Trust, Inc. for a complimentary webinar, “Smart Ponds 101,” featuring Jeff Littlejohn, P.E., and special guest Dayton Marchese, P.E., from OptiRTC.

📅 Date: Thursday, August 24

🕒 Time: 11 AM to 12 PM (EDT)

🔗 Register Now: Click here

Don’t miss this opportunity to engage with industry leaders shaping the future of water management!

We’ll share case studies on a traditional pond versus a Smart Pond, plus insights on how you can save money and land, while better protecting people, property, and the environment. 

National Stormwater Trust, Inc. is an approved Florida Board of Professional Engineers Florida Continuing Education Provider.  Registered P.E.s can earn 1 Professional Development Hour (PDH) for attending the live webinar. 

For more information, please contact Erin Klores at eklores@nationalstormwater.com.

“Smart Pond” A.K.A. Continuous Monitoring and Adaptive Control (CMAC) at Babcock Ranch

ENGINEERING TIP OF THE MONTH: Incorporating Stormwater Nutrient Credits into Site Development Design

By: Mark Thomasson, P.E., Chief Stormwater Engineer

We’re often asked about how to maximize design flexibility using Stormwater Nutrient Credits (SNCs) to meet system requirements for stormwater management facilities that control both water quantity and water quality.

We recognize that land and opportunity costs constitute a majority of losses in stormwater management, and that’s why more and more civil engineers are turning to off-site stormwater treatment alternatives to optimize their designs.

To maximize design flexibility for its customers, National Stormwater Trust (NST) created the SNC market to enable public and private developers to meet a portion of their stormwater treatment requirements by purchasing credits generated in an off-site Regional Stormwater Management Systems (RSMS).

In a typical 10-acre commercial development in Orange County, the gross land cost is about $7.5 million. The cost of a conventional wet pond is about $0.5 million, including construction and the present value of 30 years of maintenance costs. The opportunity cost of the 1.2 acres occupied by the wet pond is about $0.9 million. (NOTE: The average cost of commercial real estate in Orange County is about $750,000 per acre.)

How can SNCs be applied to this scenario to benefit the development? In this example, the required water quality treatment is 0.83 ac-ft for 1” of treatment over the 10-acre site. This quantity of treatment (0.83 ac-ft or the equivalent treatment converted into pounds or kilograms of nitrogen per year) can be provided in a permitted RSMS in the same watershed. The purchase and transfer of SNCs from a regional facility to the development can result in significant cost savings to the development, while providing an equivalent amount of water quality treatment in a regional facility that is professionally maintained. In this example, the cost of the SNC would be about $625,000, and the savings to the developer would be about $800,000 (eliminating direct costs and lost land value).

Here’s how the permitting works: To use an SNC, you must secure a reservation in a permitted regional facility with available credits and provide evidence of the availability of the credit to your permit reviewer. The more convenient way to do that is to request a Credit Reservation Letter from NST. In that letter, NST will outline the quantity reserved (in acre-feet or pounds/year), and the permitted facility where the SNC is being generated. This documentation provides reasonable assurance to your permit reviewer and simplifies your permit process. Simply put, the Reservation Letter replaces the on-site water quality treatment in your permit.

Prior to the start of construction, NST will transfer the SNC to your permit through a letter modification to its regional facility. Evidence of that permitted transfer will be provided to complete the purchase.

If this sounds similar to using a wetland mitigation credit in lieu of permittee-responsible mitigation, that’s because this program is designed to work the same way. It’s a one-time purchase, and the stormwater treatment requirement is transferred from your development to an NST-operated regional treatment facility.

NST will proactively manage the collection, storage, and discharge of stormwater in its facilities. NST-managed stormwater facilities use Continuously Monitored and Adaptive Control (CMAC) technology to improve treatment performance and reduce flooding by controlling water levels and increasing the storage capacity of the facilities by drawing down water levels prior to forecasted rainfall. NST’s Smart Ponds are about 50 percent more effective in treating stormwater than conventional facilities and enable verification of water treatment performance in real time.

NST Has Access to 2,600+ FDOT Stormwater Ponds

Through an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation, NST converts conventional FDOT stormwater ponds into regional Smart Ponds that generate Florida government-approved SNCs.

NST offers its SNC customers the one-stop convenience of long-term stormwater compliance and the knowledge that NST is providing state-of-the-art stormwater technology and scientific and financial resources to provide green infrastructure solutions to Florida.