Louisiana builds new land with river mud

Louisiana is mining a new type of black gold: Mississippi River mud. A pilot project at the river mouth shows how the hurricane-ravaged state may be able to rebuild its vanishing coast with fertile river bottom soil now dumped by dredges into the ocean.

Louisiana continuously clears the bottom of the Mississippi River to aid navigation, then dumps far offshore sediment that the river carries from tributaries in more than 30 states.

But recently a dredge clearing a few miles of the river moved the mud into nearby shallow water, rather than dumping it off the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.