Interim Rule and Compliance Agreement FAQ

On July 1, 2022 the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) approved Plant Quarantine Interim Rule 22-1, which restricts the movement of CRB-host material within the Island of Oʻahu, to and from the Island of Oʻahu which is defined as the Quarantine Area. Here’s what to expect from the rule, including who and what is affected and how to keep your business running smoothly.


Why is this interim rule needed?

Existing CRB control and treatment methods are showing positive results, but as long as high-risk material is moved to uninfested areas, the range of CRB will increase. Our program is able to treat a limited number of CRB breeding sites and affected palms. Without intervention, CRB populations damage and can kill palms (coconut, fan, date, royal) and other agricultural crops. This rule is designed to prevent accidental spread of CRB to new areas so that treatments can keep up with the spread.


How long will it last?

This version of the rule is set to last one year from its effective date, July 1, 2022. HDOA has the authority to establish interim rules pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes 150A-9.5 to regulate the transport of material that, if unregulated, would pose a significant danger to the flora and fauna of the state. Long term, HDOA plans to develop permanent regulations to prevent transmission of CRB.


What is the relationship between HDOA and CRB Response?

The CRB Response was founded as an emergency response program by the USDA. Management of the response was handed over to HDOA and the University of Hawaiʻi with continued financial support from USDA. HDOA has the authority to impose and enforce the interim rule and compliance agreements. The CRB Response supports implementation of the interim rule by fielding questions and providing training on compliance agreements to affected businesses.


What material is regulated under the rule?

Regulated material is considered a risk for potential CRB infestation. When this material is moved there is a risk of spreading CRB because it may contain CRB in any life stage.

  • CRB host material includes: entire dead trees, mulch, compost, trimmings, fruit and vegetative scraps, and decaying stumps.

  • CRB host palms include the following live palm plant genus: Washingtonia, Livistona, and Pritchardia, Cocos, Phoenix, and Roystonea, commonly known as fan, coconut, date and royal palms.


What material is exempt from the rule?

This rule does not restrict products that are low-risk for containing CRB including:

  • Non CRB Host Palms

  • Live propagative plants that are not hosts for CRB

  • Cut flowers and foliage for decoration

  • Plant products intended for consumption like coconuts, fruits, nuts, edible leaves, leaves used for cooking, spices

  • Plant products preserved from decay by treatment or use like lumber, woven hats, dried and painted coconuts, wood carvings, seeds for planting, and firewood

  • New and unused commercially bagged plant propagation media that does not originate from Oʻahu

  • Commercially bagged landscaping materials

  • Plant propagation media in live plantings (potting soil) of non-host plants

  • Inorganic materials like rock, coral, sand, and gravel


My business relies on moving this material. How can I ensure that it keeps running smoothly?

Compliance agreements include requirements designed to decrease the risk of businesses accidentally transporting or breeding CRB. Signing onto and agreeing to the requirements outlined in the compliance agreement is the route to continue moving CRB host palms and material.


Who needs to enter a compliance agreement with HDOA?

Businesses who work with regulated material are required to satisfy certain conditions to continue operating. These businesses include compost processors, landscaping companies, plant nurseries, and hauling companies. Home gardeners who produce green waste material and put it in their City and County green waste bin are not required to sign compliance agreements. Hauling and processing facilities of the City and County are also required to act in compliance with this rule.


How do I become compliant?

To enter into a compliance agreement, begin by requesting training (online or in-person) on CRB (a requirement for all compliant businesses) or contact the CRB Response. Once you’ve been trained, the CRB Response will perform a site visit to verify you are able to complete all requirements for compliance. In-person training may coincide with a site visit. Finally, a representative of the participating business will sign the compliance agreement.


What happens if there is a violation of the rule?

At the CRB Response, our goal is to minimize risk of CRB spread and stop pathways to new infestation. The compliance agreements outline a schedule of fines (scaled by the severity of the violation) and procedure for addressing the issue. To report a violation, please contact HDOA. If you have not signed a compliance agreement and have questions or concerns, please contact us.


CRB were first detected in 2013. Why didn’t this happen sooner?

Existing requirements from the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture address some of the risks in transporting CRB host material. However, apparent human-vectored movement of CRB reveals gaps in policy. This interim rule and compliance agreement process is designed to begin the process of filling those gaps as they relate to CRB.


Does this rule only prevent CRB from spreading?

CRB are one urgent target of this rule, but the requirements will also help prevent the spread of other invasive species and diseases. Current and future invasive plant seeds, insects, and microbes can be transported in incompletely processed mulch and trimmings. Thorough examination of palms can reveal additional pests and diseases before transport.