H.B. NO.














relating to the coconut rhinoceros beetle program.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that Oryctes rhinoceros, or the coconut rhinoceros beetle, can have devastating impacts on palm species that are foundational to the State's agricultural economy, cultural heritage, and ecosystems.  Native to Southeast Asia, adult coconut rhinoceros beetles feed on emerging palm fronds, causing damage that can often be severe enough to kill the plant.  The coconut rhinoceros beetle was first detected in the State in 2013, and is currently confined to Oahu.  However, beetle detections have increased in the last six months, and have spread across the island.

     CRB response is a coordinated partnership with the University of Hawaii, United States Department of Agriculture, Hawaii department of agriculture, and other key organizations.  CRB response provides tools for community members to minimize their risk and trains businesses to become compliant with department of agriculture requirements to minimize the risk of spreading coconut rhinoceros beetles and other invasive pests.  Compliance agreements are signed by businesses that work with coconut rhinoceros beetle host palms and materials to continue operating with decreased risk of causing new coconut rhinoceros beetle infestations.

     CRB response has a field crew that services more than three thousand coconut rhinoceros beetle traps across Oahu, and a canine crew trained to sniff out coconut rhinoceros beetles.  CRB response responds to public reports, assesses trees for damage, searches for breeding sites, and applies treatments.  The University of Hawaii at Manoa lab investigates new control methods and best practices.  A data team analyzes information from traps, mulch surveys, and tree damage.  An outreach team provides information to the public and professionals while supporting community response efforts.

     The legislature finds that funding for core services includes staff vital to the research, response, education, and investigative work needed to maintain a successful and effective program.  Funding for CRB response has primarily been through federal partners, with the United States Department of Agriculture and United States Navy being the largest contributors.  However, allocating stable year-to-year funding to the University of Hawaii to support key positions within the core CRB response program would assist in leveraging additional federal funds.

     The purpose of this Act is to appropriate funds to support existing CRB response positions and activities.

     SECTION 2.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $720,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2023-2024 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2024-2025 as follows:

     (1)  $65,000 for one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) permanent junior researcher to serve as the deputy incident commander under department of agriculture leadership;

     (2)  $50,000 for one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) permanent administrative professional/technician for program administration and maintenance;

     (3)  $55,000 for one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) permanent data collection, management, and GIS analysis supervisor;

     (4)  $150,000 for three full-time equivalent (3.0 FTE) permanent data technicians;

     (5)  $110,000 for two full-time equivalent (2.0 FTE) permanent outreach and education specialists;

     (6)  $50,000 for one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) permanent canine supervisor for the CRB response canine program;

     (7)  $90,000 for two full-time equivalent (2.0 FTE) permanent canine handlers for the CRB response canine program;

     (8)  $50,000 for administration and other related costs for the CRB response canine program, including kenneling and veterinary support; and

     (9)  $100,000 for supplies for maintaining research colonies and potential biological control agents.

     The sums appropriated shall be expended by the University of Hawaii for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2023.





Report Title:

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle; Prevention; UH; Appropriation



Appropriates funds for positions and activities related to coconut rhinoceros beetle infestation control.




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.