64 FR 25717, May 12, 1999, unless otherwise noted.
The procedures in this part set forth the processes and criteria for the identification, evaluation, designation and monitoring of national natural landmarks.
(a) The National Natural Landmarks Program focuses attention on areas of exceptional natural value to the nation as a whole rather than to one particular State or locality. The program recognizes areas preserved by Federal, State and local agencies as well as private organizations and individuals and encourages the owners of national natural landmarks to voluntarily observe preservation precepts.
(b) The National Natural Landmarks Program identifies and preserves natural areas that best illustrate the biological and geological character of the United States, enhances the scientific and educational values of preserved areas, strengthens public appreciation of natural history, and fosters a greater concern for the conservation of the nation's natural heritage.
The following definitions apply to this part:
National Natural Landmark is an area designated by the Secretary of the Interior as being of national significance to the United States because it is an outstanding example(s) of major biological and geological features found within the boundaries of the United States or its Territories or on the Outer Continental Shelf.
National Registry of Natural Landmarks is the official listing of all designated national natural landmarks.
National significance describes an area that is one of the best examples of a biological community or geological feature within a natural region of the United States, including terrestrial communities, landforms, geological features and processes, habitats of native plant and animal species, or fossil evidence of the development of life.
Natural region is a distinct physiographic province having similar geologic history, structures, and landforms. The basic physiographic characteristics of a natural region influence its vegetation, climate, soils, and animal life. Examples include the Atlantic Coastal Plain, Great Basin, and Brooks Range natural regions.
Owner means the individual(s), corporation(s), or partnership(s) holding fee simple title to property, or the head of the public agency or subordinate employee of the public agency to whom such authority was delegated and who is responsible for administering publicly owned land. Owner does not include individuals, partnerships, corporations, or public agencies holding easements or less than fee interests (including leaseholds) of any form. A Native American tribe that is the beneficial fee simple owner of lands, with the United States as trustee, will be considered as owner of private property for the purposes of this part. Similarly, individual member(s) of a Native American tribe who are beneficial owner(s) of property, allottee(s) held in trust by the United States, will be considered as owner(s) of private property for the purposes of this part.
Potential national natural landmark means an area that, based on recommendation or initial comparison with other areas in the same natural region, seems to merit further study of its merits for possible national natural landmark designation.
Prejudicial procedural error is one that reasonably may be considered to have affected the outcome of the designation process.
Representative refers to any public or private individual, agency, or organization that is performing actions related to the identification, evaluation, designation or monitoring of national natural landmarks on behalf of or in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), either under a contractual agreement or as a volunteer.
Scientist refers to an individual whose combination of academic training and professional field experience in the natural region qualifies him/her to identify and comparatively evaluate natural areas at the regional or national level.
(a) Designation of an area by the Secretary as a national natural landmark is not a land withdrawal, does not change the ownership of an area, and does not dictate activity. However, Federal agencies consider the unique properties of designated national natural landmarks and of areas that meet the criteria for national significance in their planning and impact analysis (see § 62.6(f)), and there may be State or local planning or land use implications. Designation as a national natural landmark does not require or mandate under Federal law any further State or local planning, zoning or other land-use action or decision. Owners who agree to have their lands designated as a national natural landmark do not give up under Federal law any legal rights and privileges of ownership or use of the area. The Department does not gain any property interests in these lands.
(b) Benefits of national natural landmark designation include the positive recognition and appreciation of nationally significant resources and the ability of public agencies and private individuals and organizations to make more informed development and planning decisions early in regional planning processes. In addition, some private owners of commercially operated national natural landmarks that are open to public visitation may choose to recognize and emphasize the national significance of the areas by providing descriptive information to the public. Under section 170(h) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, some owners of national natural landmarks may be eligible to claim a charitable contribution deduction on their Federal income tax for qualified interests in their natural landmark property donated for a qualified conservation purpose to a qualified conservation organization.
(c) The Secretary will provide an annual report to the Congress on damaged or threatened designated national natural landmarks (see § 62.6(b)). The Secretary will also report to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation any designated national natural landmarks that may be irreparably lost or destroyed by surface mining activity (see § 62.6(e)).
(a) Identification. Potential national natural landmarks are identified in the following manner.
(1) Natural region studies. The NPS conducts inventories of the characteristic biological and geological features in each natural region to provide a scientific basis for identifying potential national natural landmarks. The NPS is responsible for the completion of these studies, which are generally done by qualified scientists under contract. A study provides a classification and description of biological and geological features in that natural region and an annotated list of areas that illustrate those features. During a study, the NPS or any representative of the NPS may enter onto land only after receiving written permission from the owner(s) of that land, except when the land is publicly owned land and otherwise open to the public.
(2) Other entities.
(i) Any public or private entity may suggest an area for study and possible national natural landmark designation. The entities include:
(A) Federal agency programs that conduct inventories in order to identify areas of special interest, for example, essential wildlife habitat, research natural areas, and areas of critical environmental concern; and
(B) State natural area programs that systematically and comprehensively classify, identify, locate and assess the protective status of the biological and geological features located in a State.
(ii) If an individual, agency or organization that suggests an area for national natural landmark consideration is not the owner of the area, written permission of the owner(s) is required to enter onto the PNNL to gather information, except when the land is publicly owned and otherwise open to the public.
(3) After receiving the suggestions from a natural region study and suggestions from other sources, the NPS determines which PNNL merit further study for possible national natural landmark designation. This determination is based on comparison with existing national natural landmarks in the natural region, the national natural landmark criteria (see § 62.5) and other information.
(b) First Notification.
(1) Before a potential national natural landmark is evaluated by scientists as described in paragraph (c) of this section, the NPS notifies the owner(s) in writing, except as specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.
(i) This notice advises the owner(s) that the PNNL is being considered for study for possible national natural landmark designation and provides information on the National Natural Landmarks Program, including an explanation of the effects of national natural landmark designation as described in § 62.3.
(ii) The notice also provides the owner with available information on the area and its tentatively identified significance, solicits the owner's comments on the area, including any information on current or anticipated land use or activities that may affect the area's natural values, integrity, or other matters of concern, and informs the owner of the source of the suggestion for consideration.
(iii) The notice also requests owner permission to enter the property, unless the area is otherwise open to the public, so the NPS or its representative can conduct an on-site evaluation of the PNNL as described under paragraph (c) of this section, and advises the owner of the procedures the NPS will follow in considering the PNNL for possible designation.
(2) Before a potential national natural landmark having 50 or more owners is evaluated by scientists as described in paragraph (c) of this section, the NPS provides general notice to property owners. This general notice is published in one or more local newspapers of general circulation in the area in which the potential national natural landmark is located. The notice provides the same information listed under paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
(3) During an on-site evaluation as described in paragraph (c) of this section, the NPS or any representative of the NPS will not enter onto land without permission from the owner(s), except when the land is publicly owned and otherwise open to the public. The NPS may complete evaluations of PNNL by using other information, including information that was previously gathered by other Federal or State agencies or gained from other scientific studies. The NPS notifies owners if areas are evaluated from existing information not requiring land entry.
(4) The described procedures for providing written notification to owners and receiving responses from owners about the first notification are the responsibility of the NPS and cannot be delegated to any representative of the NPS.
(1) The NPS uses the national natural landmark criteria in § 62.5 to evaluate the potential natural landmark. Potential national natural landmarks are evaluated on a natural region basis; i.e., similar areas that represent a particular type of feature located in the same natural region are compared to identify examples that are most illustrative and have the most intact, undisturbed integrity.
(2) Evaluations are done by qualified scientists who are familiar with the natural region and its types of biological and geological features. Evaluators make a detailed description of the area, including a proposed boundary map, and assess its regional standing using the national natural landmark criteria (see § 62.5) and any additional information provided by the NPS. Evaluation reports must have been completed or updated within the previous 2 years in order to be considered by the NPS.
(3) Completed evaluation reports are reviewed by no fewer than three peer reviewers, who are scientists familiar with the biological or geological features of the area or natural region. These reviewers provide the NPS with information on the scientific merit and strength of supportive documentation in the evaluation report. On the basis of evaluation report(s) and the findings of the peer reviewers, the NPS makes a determination that:
(i) The PNNL does or does not appear to qualify for national natural landmark designation; or
(ii) Additional information is required before a decision can be made about the status of the PNNL.
(d) Second Notification.
(1) When the Director determines that an area meets the criteria for national significance, the NPS notifies the owner(s) in writing, except as specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
(i) The notice references the rules in this part, advises the owners of the procedures the NPS follows and of the effects of national natural landmark designation as described in § 62.3, provides the owner(s) with a copy of the evaluation report, and provides the owner(s) with the opportunity to comment. The list of owners must be obtained from official land or tax records, whichever is most appropriate, within 90 days before issuing the second notification.
(ii) If in any State the land or tax records are not helpful, the NPS can seek alternative sources to identify the owners.
(iii) The NPS is responsible for notifying only owners whose names appear on the list.
(2) If an area has more than 50 owners, the NPS provides a general notice to the property owners. NPS will publish a general notice in one or more local newspapers of general circulation in the region in which the area is located. A copy of the evaluation report is made available on request. In addition, the NPS may conduct a public information meeting, if widespread local public interest warrants it or if requested by the executive of the local governmental jurisdiction in which the area is located.
(3) In addition, NPS notifies appropriate authorities, organizations and individuals. The notices reference these rules and advise the recipient of the proposed action, of the procedures the NPS follows, and of the effects of national natural landmark designation as described in § 62.3. Notice of the proposed action is published also in the Federal Register. NPS will notify:
(i) The executive of the local governmental jurisdiction in which the area (PNNL) is located;
(ii) The governor of the State;
(iii) Other appropriate State officials;
(iv) Senators and members of Congress who represent the district in which the area is located;
(v) Native American tribal governments and native villages and corporations in the region; and
(vi) Other interested authorities, organizations and individuals as deemed appropriate.
(4) All notified entities, including non-owners, have 60 days to provide comments before NPS decides whether the area meets the criteria for national significance. To assist in the evaluation of an area, comments should, among other factors, discuss the area's features and integrity. Information is also welcome on current or anticipated land use or threats that could effect the area. Any party may request a reasonable extension of the comment period when additional time is required to study and comment on a landmark proposal. The Director may grant these requests if he or she determines they are in the public interest. All comments received are considered in the national natural landmark designation process.
(5) Upon individual or general notification, any owner of private property within a PNNL who wishes to object to national natural landmark designation must submit a notarized statement to the Director to certify that he or she is the sole or partial owner of record and he or she objects to the designation. These statements will be submitted during the 60-day comment period. Upon receipt of objections to the designation of a PNNL consisting of multiple parcels of land, the NPS must determine how much of it consists of owners who object to designation. If an owner whose name is not on the ownership list developed by the NPS certifies in a notarized statement that he or she is the sole or partial owner of the area, NPS will take into account his or her views about designation. In circumstances where a single parcel of land within a PNNL has more than one fee simple owner, an objection to designation of that property must be submitted by a majority of the owners.
(6) All described procedures for the notification of owners and receiving responses from owners in the second notification process are the responsibility of the NPS and cannot be delegated to any representative of the NPS.
(e) Significance determination.
(1) NPS will review all documentation including, but not limited to, evaluation reports, peer reviews, and received comments. If NPS determines that a PNNL does not meet the criteria for national significance (see § 62.5), the NPS will notify the owner(s) in writing that their land is no longer under consideration for national natural landmark designation. If PNNL are owned by 50 or more parties, the NPS will publish a general notice as described in paragraph (d)(2) of this section. In addition, the NPS will notify in writing officials, individuals and organizations notified under paragraph (d)(3) of this section.
(2) When the NPS determines that a PNNL meets the criteria for national significance, the NPS determines whether any private property owners submitted valid written objection to designation.
(f) Areas meeting criteria. When the Director of NPS determines by all available information that a PNNL meets the criteria for national significance, but some private property owners submitted written objections to the proposed national natural landmark designation, the NPS maintains all this information about the area and which shall be available as part of the environmental analysis for any major federal action for purposes of NEPA which impacts the NNL or these other lands. Notice of this action is provided by the NPS to the owners as specified in paragraphs (d)(1) and (2) of this section and to officials, individuals and organizations notified under paragraph (d)(3) of this section. If some but not all of the property owners within a PNNL object to designation, the NPS will exclude the objecting properties and proceed with the process only if enough area remains of non-objecting properties to allow sufficient representation of the significant natural features.
(g) National Park System Advisory Board.
(1) The Director of the NPS reviews the documentation of each area that meets the criteria for national significance. When the Director determines that the requirements of this part were met and that enough non-objecting valid private property owners exist to encompass an adequate portion of the nationally significant features, the Director submits the information on the area (PNNL) to the National Park System Advisory Board. The board reviews the information and recommends whether or not the land with consenting owners qualifies for national natural landmark designation.
(2) Notice of Advisory Board meetings to review national natural landmark nominations and meeting agendas are provided at least 60 days in advance of the meeting by publication in the Federal Register. The NPS also mails copies of the notice directly to consenting owners of areas that are to be considered at each meeting. Interested parties are encouraged to submit written comments and recommendations that will be presented to the board. Interested parties may also attend the board meeting and upon request may address the board concerning an area's national significance.
(h) Submission to the Secretary. The Director submits the recommendation of the Advisory Board and materials that the Director developed to the Secretary for consideration of the nominated area for national natural landmark designation.
(i) Designation. The Secretary reviews the materials that the Director submitted and any other documentation and makes a decision on national natural landmark designation. Areas that the Secretary designates as national natural landmarks are added to the National Registry of Natural Landmarks.
(j) Third notification. When the Secretary designates an area as a national natural landmark, the Secretary notifies in writing the landmark owner(s) of areas with fewer than 50 owners. A general notice of designated areas with 50 or more owners is published in one or more local newspapers of general circulation in the area. The Secretary also notifies the executive of the local governmental jurisdiction in which the landmark is located, Native American tribal governments and native villages and corporations in the area, the governor of the State, the congressional members who represent the district and State in which the landmark is located, and other interested authorities, organizations and individuals as deemed appropriate. The NPS prepares the notifications and is responsible for their distribution. Notices of new designations are also published in the Federal Register.
(k) Presentation of plaque and certificate.
(1) After the Secretary designates an area as a national natural landmark, the NPS may provide each owner who so requests with a certificate signed by the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the NPS at no cost to the owner(s). This certificate recognizes the owner's interest in protecting and managing the area in a manner that prevents the loss or deterioration of the natural values on which landmark designation is based.
(2) If appropriate, NPS may also provide without charge a bronze plaque for display in or near the national natural landmark. Upon request, and to the extent NPS resources permit, the NPS may help arrange and participate in a presentation ceremony. In accepting a plaque or certificate, owners give up none of the rights and privileges of ownership or use of the landmark and the Department of the Interior does not acquire any interest in the designated property. After a presentation, the plaque remains the property of NPS. If the landmark designation is removed in accordance with the procedures in § 62.8, NPS may reclaim the plaque.
(1) National significance describes an area that is one of the best examples of a biological or geological feature known to be characteristic of a given natural region. Such features include terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; geologic structures, exposures and landforms that record active geologic processes or portions of earth history; and fossil evidence of biological evolution. Because the general character of natural diversity is regionally distinct and correlated with broad patterns of physiography, many types of natural features are entirely inside one of the 33 physiographic provinces of the nation, as defined by Fenneman (Physiographic Divisions of the United States, 1928) and modified as needed by the NPS.
(2) Because no uniform, nationally applicable classification scheme for biological communities or geological features is accepted and used by the majority of organizations involved in natural-area inventories, a classification system for each inventory of a natural region was developed to identify the types of regionally characteristic natural features sought for representation on the National Registry of Natural Landmarks. Most types represent the scale of distinct biological communities or individual geological, paleontological, or physiographic features, most of which can be mapped at the Earth's surface at 1:24,000 scale or are traceable in the subsurface. In some cases, the NPS may further evaluate only a significant segment of a given natural feature, where the segment is biologically or geologically representative and where the entire feature is so large as to be impracticable for natural landmark consideration (e.g., a mountain range). Almost two-thirds of all national natural landmarks range from about 10 to 5,000 acres, but some are larger or smaller because of the wide variety of natural features recognized by the National Natural Landmarks Program.
(b) Criteria. NPS uses the following criteria to evaluate the relative quality of areas as examples of regionally characteristic natural features:
(1) Primary criteria. Primary criteria for a specific type of natural feature are the main basis for selection and are described in the following table:
|Illustrative character||Area exhibits a combination of well-developed components that are recognized in the appropriate scientific literature as characteristic of a particular type of natural feature. Should be unusually illustrative, rather than merely statistically representative||Alpine glacier with classic shape, unusual number of glaciological structures like crevasses, and well-developed bordering moraine sequences.|
|Present condition||Area has been less disturbed by humans than other areas||Large beech maple forest, only a small portion of which has been logged.|
(2) Secondary criteria. Secondary criteria are provided for additional consideration, if two or more similar area cannot be ranked using the primary criteria. Secondary criteria are described in the following table:
|Diversity||In addition to its primary natural feature, area contains high quality examples of other biological and/or geological features or processes||Composite volcano that also illustrates geothermal phenomena.|
|Rarity||In addition to its primary natural feature, area contains rare geological or paleontological feature or biological community or provides high quality habitat for one or more rare, threatened, or endangered species||Badlands, including strata that contain rare fossils.|
|Value for Science and Education||Area contains known or potential information as a result of its association with significant scientific discovery, concept, or exceptionally extensive and long term record of on-site research and therefore offers unusual opportunities for public interpretation of the natural history of the United States||Dunes landscape where process of ecological succession was noted for first time.|
(a) Owner contact. The Field Offices of the NPS maintain periodic contacts with the owners of designated national natural landmarks to determine whether the landmarks retain the values that qualified them for landmark designation and to update administrative records on the areas.
(b) Section 8 Report.
(1) The Secretary, through the NPS, prepares an annual report to the Congress on all designated national natural landmarks with known or anticipated damage or threats to one or more of the resources that made them nationally significant. This report is mandated by Section 8 of the National Park System General Authorities Act of 1970, as amended, (16 U.S.C. 1a-5).
(2) A landmark is included in this report if it has lost or is in imminent danger of losing all or part of its natural character to such a degree that one or more of the values that made it nationally significant are or will be irreversibly damaged or destroyed. In assessing the status of a landmark, NPS considers the condition of the landmark at the time of designation, including any changes that have occurred and any threats that could impact it in the future.
(3) Section 8 also requires the Secretary to make recommendations to the Congress on qualified areas for consideration as additions to the National Park System. No legal mandate requires that the Congress take further action about national natural landmarks listed as damaged or threatened or about areas that are recommended for possible future additions to the National Park System.
(4) NPS Regional Offices are responsible for monitoring the condition of, and for completing status reports on, all designated national natural landmarks in their regions. In some cases, the NPS may arrange with outside individuals, agencies or organizations to monitor the status of selected national natural landmarks. NPS or its representative usually monitors national natural landmark condition and status during a visit.
(1) The NPS or its representative notifies the owner(s) of a national natural landmark of his or her pending visit to the area to determine its status and condition, and informs the owner(s) of the purposes of monitoring and its relation to the Secretary's annual report on threatened or damaged landmarks.
(2) While monitoring conditions of designated national natural landmarks, neither NPS nor its representative will enter onto private property or onto public lands that are not otherwise open to the public without first obtaining permission from the owner(s) or administrator(s). The NPS may monitor landmark condition without entering onto lands where required permission has not been granted by using other existing information, including telephone conversations with the owner(s) or manager(s) of the area, written materials provided by the owner or manager, or information previously developed by other Federal or State agencies or other scientific studies. The NPS provides owners with copies of monitoring reports on their property, which will include the name and affiliation of the individual(s) who completed the report.
(d) Section 8 report preparation.
(1) After completion of landmark monitoring, the NPS Regional Offices forward their findings and recommendations to the NPS Washington Office. The NPS Washington Office reviews the Regional Office findings and recommendations and prepares a draft report listing only the national natural landmarks with significant known or anticipated damage or threats to the integrity of one or more of the resources that made the area nationally significant.
(2) Pertinent portions of this draft report, including any executive summary, are provided to the owner(s) or administrator(s) of national natural landmarks listed as is feasible, as well as to other interested authorities, organizations and individuals. All individuals have 30 days to provide written comments to the NPS on the draft report. Comments may include additional information on the condition of landmarks or on the nature or imminence of reported damage or threats to these landmarks. Owners are also asked to indicate whether they would like to receive a copy of the final report, as described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.
(3) The NPS reviews all comments on the draft report and prepares a final report, which the Director transmits to the Secretary for submission to the Congress. Upon release of the final report, the NPS will provide a copy of the report to the owner(s) of landmarks who are listed in the report and have requested copies and to other interested authorities, organizations and individuals.
(e) Mining in the Parks Act. If the NPS determines that an entire or partial national natural landmark may be irreparably lost or destroyed by surface mining activity, including exploration for or removal or production of minerals or materials, NPS notifies the person that is conducting the activity and prepares a report that identifies the basis for the finding that the activity may cause irreparable loss or destruction. The NPS also notifies the owner(s) of the national natural landmark in writing of its finding. The NPS submits to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation the report and a request for advice about alternative measures that may be taken by the United States to mitigate or abate the activity. The authority for this action is contained in Section 9 of the Mining in the Parks Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 1908).
(f) National Environmental Policy Act. Federal agencies should consider the existence and location of designated national natural landmarks, and of areas found to meet the criteria for national significance, in assessing the effects of their activities on the environment under section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321). The NPS is responsible for providing requested information about the National Natural Landmarks Program for these assessments.
(a) Determination of need for modifications. After designation, the modification of the boundaries of a natural landmark, and/or revision of information about it, may be appropriate. For example, because of new information or changes in the condition of an NNL, the boundary may have to be reduced or expanded or information about the NNL may have to be revised. Additional study may reveal that the area has nationally significant values that had not been previously documented. The NPS determines that landmark modifications are necessary through administration of the program. In addition, the NPS may receive suggestions for landmark modifications from other Federal agencies, State natural area programs, and other public and private organizations or individuals. The NPS determines the validity of these suggestions by applying the natural landmark criteria or by conducting additional study.
(b) Boundary expansion.
(1) Three justifications exist for enlarging the boundary of a national natural landmark: better documentation of the extent of nationally significant features, professional error in the original designation, or additional landowners with nationally significant features on their property desiring the designation.
(2) If the NPS determines that an expansion of the boundary of the national natural landmark is appropriate, it will use the designation process outlined in § 62.4(b) through (j). If a boundary is expanded, only the owners in the newly considered but as yet not designated portion of the area are notified and asked if they object to designation.
(c) Boundary reduction. Two justifications exist for reducing the boundary of a national natural landmark: Loss of integrity of the natural features or professional error in the original designation. If the NPS determines that a reduction in the national natural landmark boundary is indicated, the designation removal process outlined in § 62.8 is used.
(d) Change in description of values. If the NPS determines that a change in the description of the national natural landmark's nationally significant values is warranted, the NPS prepares the recommended changes and the Director submits the changes and all supportive documentation to the National Park System Advisory Board. The Advisory Board reviews the information submitted by the Director and makes recommendations to the Secretary. The Secretary reviews the supportive documentation and the recommendations of the board, and may approve changes in the description of a landmark's nationally significant values.
(e) Minor technical corrections. Minor technical corrections to a national natural landmark boundary and other administrative changes in landmark documentation not covered under paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section may be approved by the Director without a review by the Advisory Board or the approval by the Secretary. Minor technical boundary corrections are defined as those that involve a change in less than five percent of the total area of the national natural landmark. The NPS notifies owners of proposed minor technical boundary corrections or other administrative changes in documentation, as described in this paragraph (e). Based upon owner response to this notification, the NPS determines whether the proposed change is a minor technical correction to landmark documentation that can be made administratively or whether the procedures outlined in § 62.4(d) through (j) must be followed.
(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.
(a) Agreements. The NPS may enter into contracts, memoranda of agreement, cooperative agreements, or other types of agreements with other Federal agencies, States, counties, local communities, private organizations, owners, Native American tribal governments, or other interested individuals or groups to assist in administering the National Natural Landmarks Program. The agreements may include but are not limited to provisions about identification, evaluation, monitoring or protecting national natural landmarks.
(b) Information dissemination. The NPS may conduct educational and scientific activities to disseminate information on national natural landmarks, the National Natural Landmarks Program, and the benefits derived from systematic surveys of significant natural features to the general public and to interested local, State and Federal agencies and private groups. Dissemination of information on ecologically or geologically fragile or sensitive areas may be restricted when release of the information may endanger or harm the sensitive resources.
(c) Procedural requirements. Any individual, agency, or organization acting as a representative of the NPS in the identification, evaluation, monitoring or protection of national natural landmarks is required to follow this part.
(d) Additional program information. Further guidance on the operation of the National Natural Landmarks Program, as based on this part, may be found in other program documents that are available from the NPS.
(e) Administrative recourse. Any person has the right to insist that NPS take into account all the provisions in this part for national natural landmark designation or removal.