The Bay Program plans to release draft reports on the health of the Chesapeake and the status of the Bay cleanup effort for public comment during April and May.

The reports are part of the new “Chesapeake Bay 2005 Health and Restoration Assessment,” which replaces the Bay Program’s previous “State of the Bay” reports.

The first part, Ecosystem Health, uses the most current data available to provide a scientifically based, integrated assessment of the health of the Bay. The second part, Restoration Efforts, measures actions taken to restore the Bay against long-term restoration goals.

The reports’ content addresses concerns raised in an audit by the congressional Government Accountability Office. The GAO said the Bay Program’s “State of the Bay” reports made it difficult for readers to determine the health of the Bay because they did not clearly distinguish between measures of cleanup actions and measures of actual water quality conditions.

The reports are expected to be available on the Bay Program’s website, www.chesapeakebay.net, by March 31.