By Roger Bales and Martha Conklin

Many of California’s 33 million acres of forests face widespread threats stemming from past management choices. Today the U.S. Forest Service estimates that of the 20 million acres it manages in California, 6-9 million acres need to be restored.

Forest restoration basically means removing the less fire-resistant smaller trees and returning to a forest with larger trees that are widely spaced. These stewardship projects require partnerships across the many interests who benefit from healthy forests, to help bring innovative financing to this huge challenge.

The California Wildfires in Photos

california wildfires

We are engineers who work on many natural resource challenges, including forest management. We’re encouraged to see California and other western states striving to use forest management to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire.

But there are major bottlenecks. They include scarce resources and limited engagement between forest managers and many local, regional and state agencies and organizations that have roles to play in managing forests.

However, some of these groups are forming local partnerships to work with land managers and develop innovative financing strategies. We see these partnerships as key to increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration.

Under contemporary conditions, trees in California’s forests experience increased competition for water. The exceptionally warm 2011-2015 California drought contributed to the death of over 100 million trees. As the forest’s water demand exceeded the amount available during the drought, water-stressed trees succumbed to insect attacks.

Funding is a significant barrier to scaling up treatments. Nearly half of the Forest Service’s annual budget is spent on fighting wildfires, which is important for protecting communities and other built infrastructure. But this means the agency can restore only a fraction of the acres that need treatment each year.

The Benefits of Restoration

Forest restoration provides many benefits in

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON (Reuters) – U.S. energy companies were returning workers and restarting operations at storm-swept production facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday, two days after Hurricane Delta barreled through the area.

Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BHP Group all said workers were headed back to production platforms in the U.S.-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico.

BHP expects to complete the return of workers to its Shenzi and Neptune production platforms on Sunday, spokeswoman Judy Dane said, adding that resuming flows will depend on how quickly pipelines return to service.

It can take several days after a storm passes for energy producers to evaluate facilities for damage, return workers and restore offshore production. The companies that operate oil and gas pipelines and process the offshore output also shut ahead of the storm.

On Sunday, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said 91% of offshore crude oil production remains shut in the U.S.-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Delta, which made landfall on Friday night.

In addition, 62.2% of natural gas output remains shut in the Gulf following the storm that made landfall near Creole, Louisiana, and weakened into a low-pressure system over Mississippi on Saturday.

Through Sunday, a cumulative total of 8.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production and 8.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas output from the Gulf has been shut because of Hurricane Delta.

The area produces about 17% of total daily U.S. oil production and 5% of daily natural gas production.

Still remaining shut are the Calcasieu Waterway in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes in Louisiana and the ports of Lake Charles and Cameron, Louisiana, near where Delta made landfall.

The ports of Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, including the Sabine Pass, which serve

HOUSTON (Reuters) – U.S. energy companies were returning workers and restarting operations at storm-swept production facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday, two days after Hurricane Delta barreled through the area.

Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BHP Group were returning workers to production platforms in the U.S.-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico, the companies said.

BHP expects to complete the return of workers to its Shenzi and Neptune production platforms on Sunday, spokeswoman Judy Dane said, but resuming flows will depend on how quickly pipelines return to service, she said.

It can take several days after a storm passes for energy producers to evaluate facilities for damage, return workers and restore offshore production. The companies that operate oil and gas pipelines and process the offshore output also shut ahead of the storm.

Cumulative volumes shut-in by Hurricane Delta through Sunday, according to company reports to the U.S. government, amounted to 8.79 million barrels of oil and 8.30 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The area produces about 1.8 million barrels of oil per day, or 17% of total daily U.S. output, and 5% of daily U.S. natural gas production.

Still remaining shut are the Calcasieu Waterway in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes in Louisiana and the ports of Lake Charles and Cameron, Louisiana, near where Delta made landfall Friday evening.

The ports of Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, including the Sabine Pass, which serve major oil and liquefied natural gas processing plants, were reopened with restrictions on Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Total SA continued restarting its 225,500 barrel-per-day Port Arthur, Texas, refinery on Sunday. The refinery, which is about 65 miles (100 km) west of Creole, Louisiana, where the storm went ashore, lost power on Friday.

Fast-moving Delta swept over Louisiana on Saturday and became a low-pressure

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