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Science panel assesses Chesapeake Bay restoration plan

A panel of scientists and environmentalists says the ambitious plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay faces a number of challenges to successfully achieve the massive reclamation project.

They include improved tracking of efforts to reduce pollution into the bay, climate change that could ultimately alter the cleanup plan and the huge costs of undertaking the largest pollution control project in U.S. history.

The report released Wednesday by the National Research Council sizes up the restoration directed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Partners include the six states that are within the 64,000-square-mile watershed. The District of Columbia is also a partner.

The committee also warned of “overly optimistic expectations” if the restoration doesn’t deliver evidence of improved water quality over the short term.