St. Joseph — The federal government is pumping $6.8 million into an initiative to boost water quality in the St. Joseph River Watershed, which covers 210 miles in Michigan and Indiana.

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan and Joe Donnelly of Indiana plan a news conference Monday in St. Joseph to discuss the project, which was established under federal farm legislation last year.

The watershed is the third-largest river basin of Lake Michigan. It’s a heavily agricultural area. The program will help farmers improve productivity in the field and reduce runoff of sediment and nutrients into the river. Officials say that will benefit soil and water, along with wildlife habitat.

The farm bill will support many similar conservation projects with local partners.

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