(1) The department, with the advice of the evergreen communities partnership task force created in RCW 35.105.110
, shall develop the criteria for an evergreen community recognition program whereby the state can recognize cities, towns, and counties, to be designated as an evergreen community, who are developing excellent urban forest management programs that include community and urban forestry inventories, assessments, plans, ordinances, maintenance programs, partnerships, and community involvement.
(2)(a) Designation as an evergreen community must include no fewer than two graduated steps.
(b) The first graduated step of designation as an evergreen community includes satisfaction of the following requirements:
(i) The development and implementation of a tree board or tree department;
(ii) The development of a tree care ordinance;
(iii) The implementation of a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least two dollars for every city resident;
(iv) Official recognition of arbor day; and
(v) The completion of an updated community and urban forest inventory for the city, town, or county or the formal adoption of an inventory developed for the city, town, or county by the department of natural resources pursuant to RCW 76.15.070
(c) The second graduated step of designation as an evergreen community includes the adoption of evergreen community management plans and ordinances that exceed the minimum standards in the model evergreen community management plans and ordinances adopted by the department under RCW 35.105.050
(d) The department may require additional graduated steps and establish the minimum requirements for each recognized step.
(3) The department shall develop gateway signage and logos for an evergreen community.
(4) The department shall, unless the duty is assumed by the governor, recognize, certify, and designate cities, towns, and counties satisfying the criteria developed under this section as an evergreen community.
(5) Applications for evergreen community status must be submitted to and evaluated by the department of natural resources.