CS/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;
6clarifying the purposes of such activities; limiting
7applicability of the exemption; amending s. 373.407, F.S.;
8providing exclusive authority to the Department of
9Agriculture and Consumer Services to determine whether
10certain activities qualify for an agricultural-related
11exemption under specified conditions; requiring a
12specified memorandum of agreement between the department
13and each water management district; authorizing the
14department to adopt rules; amending s. 403.927, F.S.;
15providing an exemption from mitigation requirements for
16converted agricultural lands under certain conditions;
17revising the definition of the term "agricultural
18activities" to include cultivating, fallowing, leveling,
19and implementation of specified practices and standards
20and to provide for certain impacts to surface waters and
21wetlands; providing an effective date.
23Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
25     Section 1.  Subsection (2) of section 373.406, Florida
26Statutes, is amended to read:
27     373.406  Exemptions.-The following exemptions shall apply:
28     (2)  Notwithstanding s. 403.927, nothing herein, or in any
29rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant hereto, shall be
30construed to affect the right of any person engaged in the
31occupation of agriculture, silviculture, floriculture, or
32horticulture to alter the topography of any tract of land,
33including, but not limited to, activities that may impede or
34divert the flow of surface waters or adversely impact wetlands,
35for purposes consistent with the normal and customary practice
36of such occupation in the area. However, such alteration or
37activity may not be for the sole or predominant purpose of
38impeding impounding or diverting the flow of obstructing surface
39waters or adversely impacting wetlands. This exemption applies
40to lands classified as agricultural pursuant to s. 193.461 and
41to activities requiring an environmental resource permit
42pursuant to this part. This exemption does not apply to any
43activities previously authorized by an environmental resource
44permit or a management and storage of surface water permit
45issued pursuant to this part or a dredge and fill permit issued
46pursuant to chapter 403.
47     Section 2.  Section 373.407, Florida Statutes, is amended
48to read:
49     373.407  Determination of qualification Memorandum of
50agreement for an agricultural-related exemption.-In the event of
51a dispute as to the applicability of an exemption, No later than
52July 1, 2007, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
53Services and each water management district shall enter into a
54memorandum of agreement under which the Department of
55Agriculture and Consumer Services shall assist in a
56determination by a water management district or landowner may as
57to whether an existing or proposed activity qualifies for the
58exemption in s. 373.406(2). The memorandum of agreement shall
59provide a process by which, upon the request of a water
60management district, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
61Services to make a binding determination shall conduct a
62nonbinding review as to whether an existing or proposed activity
63qualifies for an agricultural-related exemption under in s.
64373.406(2). The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
65and each water management district shall enter into a memorandum
66of agreement or amend an existing memorandum of agreement which
67sets forth shall provide processes and procedures by which the
68Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall undertake
69its this review, make a determination effectively and
70efficiently, and provide notice of its determination to the
71applicable water management district or landowner. The
72Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has exclusive
73authority to make the determination under this section and may
74adopt rules to implement this section and s. 373.406(2) issue a
76     Section 3.  Subsection (3) and paragraph (a) of subsection
77(4) of section 403.927, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
78     403.927  Use of water in farming and forestry activities.-
79     (3)  If land served by a water management system is
80converted to a use other than an agricultural use, the water
81management system, or the portion of the system which serves
82that land, will be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
83However, mitigation under chapter 373 or this chapter to offset
84any adverse effects caused by agricultural activities that
85occurred before the conversion of the land is not required if
86the activities occurred on the land in the last 4 years
87preceding the conversion.
88     (4)  As used in this section, the term:
89     (a)  "Agricultural activities" includes all necessary
90farming and forestry operations which are normal and customary
91for the area, such as site preparation, clearing, fencing,
92contouring to prevent soil erosion, soil preparation, plowing,
93planting, cultivating, harvesting, fallowing, leveling,
94construction of access roads, and placement of bridges and
95culverts, and implementation of best management practices
96adopted by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
97or practice standards adopted by the United States Department of
98Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, provided
99such operations are not for the sole or predominant purpose of
100impeding do not impede or diverting divert the flow of surface
101waters or adversely impacting wetlands.
102     Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.

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