WOODSTOCK, Md. (AP) — Maryland conservationists are joining federal and state agriculture officials in celebrating the first grants for Chesapeake Bay cleanup projects funded through the 2014 farm bill.

Democrat U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin is leading the event Friday at the Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock.

It comes two days after the federal Agriculture Department announced that Chesapeake Bay restoration projects will receive more than $18 million in funding.

Some of the projects are aimed at improving nutrient management practices, restoring wetlands and increasing streamside plant growth.

The six-state Chesapeake Bay watershed is among eight “critical conservation areas” the USDA has designated for special attention under the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

The watershed includes parts of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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