CS/HB 421

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to agricultural-related exemptions to
3water management requirements; amending s. 373.406, F.S.;
4revising an exemption for agricultural-related activities
5to include certain impacts to surface waters and wetlands;
6limiting applicability of the exemption; amending s.
7373.407, F.S.; providing exclusive authority to the
8Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to
9determine whether certain activities qualify for an
10agricultural-related exemption under specified conditions;
11requiring a specified memorandum of agreement between the
12department and each water management district; authorizing
13the department to adopt rules; amending s. 403.927, F.S.;
14providing an exemption from mitigation requirements for
15converted agricultural lands under certain conditions;
16revising the definition of the term "agricultural
17activities" to include cultivating, fallowing, and
18leveling and to provide for certain impacts to surface
19waters and wetlands; providing an effective date.
21Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
23     Section 1.  Subsection (2) of section 373.406, Florida
24Statutes, is amended to read:
25     373.406  Exemptions.-The following exemptions shall apply:
26     (2)  Notwithstanding s. 403.927, nothing herein, or in any
27rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant hereto, shall be
28construed to affect the right of any person engaged in the
29occupation of agriculture, silviculture, floriculture, or
30horticulture to alter the topography of any tract of land,
31including, but not limited to, activities that may impede or
32divert the flow of surface waters or adversely impact wetlands,
33for purposes consistent with the practice of such occupation.
34However, such alteration or activity may not be for the sole or
35predominant purpose of impeding impounding or diverting the flow
36of obstructing surface waters or adversely impacting wetlands.
37This exemption applies to lands classified as agricultural
38pursuant to s. 193.461 and to activities requiring an
39environmental resource permit pursuant to this part. This
40exemption does not apply to any activities previously authorized
41by an environmental resource permit or a management and storage
42of surface water permit issued pursuant to this part or a dredge
43and fill permit issued pursuant to chapter 403.
44     Section 2.  Section 373.407, Florida Statutes, is amended
45to read:
46     373.407  Determination of qualification Memorandum of
47agreement for an agricultural-related exemption.-In the event of
48a dispute as to the applicability of an exemption, No later than
49July 1, 2007, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
50Services and each water management district shall enter into a
51memorandum of agreement under which the Department of
52Agriculture and Consumer Services shall assist in a
53determination by a water management district or landowner may as
54to whether an existing or proposed activity qualifies for the
55exemption in s. 373.406(2). The memorandum of agreement shall
56provide a process by which, upon the request of a water
57management district, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
58Services to make a binding determination shall conduct a
59nonbinding review as to whether an existing or proposed activity
60qualifies for an agricultural-related exemption under in s.
61373.406(2). The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
62and each water management district shall enter into a memorandum
63of agreement or amend an existing memorandum of agreement which
64sets forth shall provide processes and procedures by which the
65Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall undertake
66its this review, make a determination effectively and
67efficiently, and provide notice of its determination to the
68applicable water management district or landowner. The
69Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has exclusive
70authority to make the determination under this section and may
71adopt rules to implement this section and s. 373.406(2) issue a
73     Section 3.  Subsection (3) and paragraph (a) of subsection
74(4) of section 403.927, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
75     403.927  Use of water in farming and forestry activities.-
76     (3)  If land served by a water management system is
77converted to a use other than an agricultural use, the water
78management system, or the portion of the system which serves
79that land, will be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
80However, mitigation under chapter 373 or this chapter to offset
81any adverse effects caused by agricultural activities that
82occurred before the conversion of the land is not required if
83the activities occurred on the land in the last 4 years
84preceding the conversion.
85     (4)  As used in this section, the term:
86     (a)  "Agricultural activities" includes all necessary
87farming and forestry operations which are normal and customary
88for the area, such as site preparation, clearing, fencing,
89contouring to prevent soil erosion, soil preparation, plowing,
90planting, cultivating, harvesting, fallowing, leveling,
91construction of access roads, and placement of bridges and
92culverts, provided such operations are not for the sole or
93predominant purpose of impeding do not impede or diverting
94divert the flow of surface waters or adversely impacting
96     Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.