(a) Criteria for removal. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, national natural landmark designation is removed from an area:
(i) When it can be shown that an error in professional judgment was made such that the site did not meet the criteria for national significance at the time of designation;
(ii) When the values which originally qualified it for designation have been lost or destroyed; or
(iii) When applicable designation procedures were not followed because of prejudicial failure.
(2) Any affected owner of a designated national natural landmark may initiate the removal by submitting to the Director a request for removal of designation, stating the grounds for this removal and specifying the error in professional judgment, loss of natural values or prejudicial procedural error. A prejudicial procedural error is one that reasonably may be considered to have affected the outcome of the designation process.
(3) Within 60 days of receiving a removal request, the NPS notifies the party submitting the request of whether the NPS considers the documentation sufficient to consider removal of the natural landmark designation.
(b) Review of removal information. The NPS reviews the information outlining the grounds for removal. When necessary, an on-site evaluation of the area may be made, as outlined in § 62.4(c). Based on all available information, the NPS determines whether the area no longer merits designation as a national natural landmark.
(c) Notifications. When NPS has determined that area no longer merits designation as a national natural landmark, the NPS notifies the owner(s) and other interested parties as specified in § 62.4(d)(1)-(3). Notice of the proposed removal is also published in the Federal Register. The notified individuals may comment within 60 days of the date of the notice before a recommendation for removal is submitted to the Secretary. All comments received will be considered in the review and in the decision to remove the national natural landmark designation.
(d) Removal from the registry. (1) The Director reviews the information about a recommended removal from the Registry and determines whether the procedural requirements in this section have been met. If the Director confirms the findings, he or she submits a recommendation for removal to the National Park System Advisory Board. The Advisory Board reviews the submitted information and recommends the removal from or retention of the area in the registry.
(2) The recommendations of the Advisory Board and the Director are submitted by the Director to the Secretary for his or her consideration. If the Secretary concurs, he or she directs the removal of the landmark from the National Registry of Natural Landmarks. Any area from which designation is withdrawn solely because of procedural error as described in paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section continues to meet the criteria for national significance.
(e) Notification of removal from the registry. When the Secretary removes a landmark from the National Registry of Natural Landmarks, the Secretary will notify the national natural landmark owner(s), the executive of the local government jurisdiction in which the area is located, Native American tribal governments and native villages and corporations in the area, the governor of the State, Congressional members who represent the Congressional District and State in which the area is located, and other interested authorities, organizations, and individuals, as outlined in § 62.4(d)(1), (2) and (3). The NPS is responsible for preparing and distributing the written notices. The NPS periodically publishes notice(s) of removal in the Federal Register. The NPS may reclaim the natural landmark plaque when a landmark is removed from the National Registry of Natural Landmarks.
(f) Previously designated landmarks. (1) NPS will notify owners of national natural landmarks designated before the effective date of these regulations to give them an opportunity within 90 days of the notice to request the removal of a national natural landmark designation from their property by writing to the Director. If owners do not respond within 90 days of the notification, the national natural landmark designations of their properties will be retained.
(2) When only some owners of a national natural landmark in multiple ownership request the removal of a national natural landmark designation from their portions, the NPS determines whether, after removal of these portions, a sufficient acreage of the national natural landmark remains to demonstrate the original nationally significant features without undue compromise. If so, the boundaries of the national natural landmark are adjusted to remove the properties of owners who object to the designation. If not, the entire national natural landmark designation is removed and the area is removed from the National Registry of Natural Landmarks.
(3) Any removals of existing national natural landmark designations and related recommended boundary adjustments, must be presented by the Director to the National Park System Advisory Board for review before being presented to the Secretary who formally removes a national natural landmark from the national registry or approves changes in the national natural landmark boundary. Areas from which the designation has been removed may be reconsidered for designation under these regulations if ownership or other circumstances change.