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; providing for retroactive
8application of the exemption; amending s. 373.407, F.S.;
9providing exclusive authority to the Department of
10Agriculture and Consumer Services to determine whether
11certain activities qualify for an agricultural-related
12exemption under specified conditions; requiring a
13specified memorandum of agreement between the department
14and each water management district; authorizing the
15department to adopt rules; amending s. 403.927, F.S.;
16providing an exemption from mitigation requirements for
17converted agricultural lands under certain conditions;
18revising the definition of the term "agricultural
19activities" to include cultivating, fallowing, leveling,
20and implementation of specified practices and standards
21and to provide for certain impacts to surface waters and
22wetlands; providing an effective date.
24Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
26     Section 1.  Subsection (2) of section 373.406, Florida
27Statutes, is amended to read:
28     373.406  Exemptions.-The following exemptions shall apply:
29     (2)  Notwithstanding s. 403.927, nothing herein, or in any
30rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant hereto, shall be
31construed to affect the right of any person engaged in the
32occupation of agriculture, silviculture, floriculture, or
33horticulture to alter the topography of any tract of land,
34including, but not limited to, activities that may impede or
35divert the flow of surface waters or adversely impact wetlands,
36for purposes consistent with the normal and customary practice
37of such occupation in the area. However, such alteration or
38activity may not be for the sole or predominant purpose of
39impeding impounding or diverting the flow of obstructing surface
40waters or adversely impacting wetlands. This exemption applies
41to lands classified as agricultural pursuant to s. 193.461 and
42to activities requiring an environmental resource permit
43pursuant to this part. This exemption does not apply to any
44activities previously authorized by an environmental resource
45permit or a management and storage of surface water permit
46issued pursuant to this part or a dredge and fill permit issued
47pursuant to chapter 403. This exemption has retroactive
48application to July 1, 1984.
49     Section 2.  Section 373.407, Florida Statutes, is amended
50to read:
51     373.407  Determination of qualification Memorandum of
52agreement for an agricultural-related exemption.-In the event of
53a dispute as to the applicability of an exemption, No later than
54July 1, 2007, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
55Services and each water management district shall enter into a
56memorandum of agreement under which the Department of
57Agriculture and Consumer Services shall assist in a
58determination by a water management district or landowner may as
59to whether an existing or proposed activity qualifies for the
60exemption in s. 373.406(2). The memorandum of agreement shall
61provide a process by which, upon the request of a water
62management district, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
63Services to make a binding determination shall conduct a
64nonbinding review as to whether an existing or proposed activity
65qualifies for an agricultural-related exemption under in s.
66373.406(2). The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
67and each water management district shall enter into a memorandum
68of agreement or amend an existing memorandum of agreement which
69sets forth shall provide processes and procedures by which the
70Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall undertake
71its this review, make a determination effectively and
72efficiently, and provide notice of its determination to the
73applicable water management district or landowner. The
74Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has exclusive
75authority to make the determination under this section and may
76adopt rules to implement this section and s. 373.406(2) issue a
78     Section 3.  Subsection (3) and paragraph (a) of subsection
79(4) of section 403.927, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
80     403.927  Use of water in farming and forestry activities.-
81     (3)  If land served by a water management system is
82converted to a use other than an agricultural use, the water
83management system, or the portion of the system which serves
84that land, will be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
85However, mitigation under chapter 373 or this chapter to offset
86any adverse effects caused by agricultural activities that
87occurred before the conversion of the land is not required if
88the activities occurred on the land in the last 4 years
89preceding the conversion.
90     (4)  As used in this section, the term:
91     (a)  "Agricultural activities" includes all necessary
92farming and forestry operations which are normal and customary
93for the area, such as site preparation, clearing, fencing,
94contouring to prevent soil erosion, soil preparation, plowing,
95planting, cultivating, harvesting, fallowing, leveling,
96construction of access roads, and placement of bridges and
97culverts, and implementation of best management practices
98adopted by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
99or practice standards adopted by the United States Department of
100Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, provided
101such operations are not for the sole or predominant purpose of
102impeding do not impede or diverting divert the flow of surface
103waters or adversely impacting wetlands.
104     Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.

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