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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Apalachicola, FL

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Apalachicola, FL You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Apalachicola, FL

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Apalachicola, FL

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Apalachicola, FL

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Apalachicola, FL

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Apalachicola, FL

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Apalachicola, FL

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Apalachicola, FL

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Apalachicola, FL phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Apalachicola, FL phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Apalachicola, FL phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Apalachicola, FL that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Apalachicola, FL

Latest News in Apalachicola, FL

9 of the Friendliest Towns on Florida's Emerald Coast

If you're looking for a getaway full of sunshine, soft sand beaches and charming towns, then Florida's Emerald Coast is the perfect destination. From Pensacola to Panama City, there are plenty of small towns that offer stunning views, outdoor activities, and friendly locals.Explore nine of the friendliest towns in Florida's Emerald Coast ...

If you're looking for a getaway full of sunshine, soft sand beaches and charming towns, then Florida's Emerald Coast is the perfect destination. From Pensacola to Panama City, there are plenty of small towns that offer stunning views, outdoor activities, and friendly locals.

Explore nine of the friendliest towns in Florida's Emerald Coast — each one offering its own distinct qualities and offers unique experiences that will make your vacation memorable for years to come! So, whether you're seeking lively nightlife or quaint beachy vibes, there is something here for everyone. Keep reading for nine amazing towns ready to welcome you along the Gulf Coast!

More on the Emerald CoastExplore 7 of the most underrated towns on Florida's Emerald Coast.

Navarre

Navarre is a small beach town renowned for its friendly atmosphere. From the moment you set foot in this vibrant community, you'll be treated like family. Locals are quick to lend a helping hand and always willing to share their stories, making it easy for visitors to feel at home.

From cozy cafes and laid-back restaurants to outdoor activities and local landmarks, there is plenty to explore in Navarre. At the heart of the town lies Juana's Pagodas & Sailors' Grill -- an iconic seafood joint that has been serving up tasty treats since 1989. This popular spot is great for soaking up some sun along with a few drinks while enjoying delicious local fare. Another major attraction in the area is Navarre Beach Marine Park, home to beautiful white sands and crystal-clear waters.

Perhaps one of the most outstanding features of Navarre is its laid-back vibe. There are plenty of opportunities to relax and take it easy while still having access to all sorts of exciting activities. With its welcoming atmosphere, gorgeous scenery, and abundance of activities -- it's no wonder why Navarre continues to rank as one of Florida's friendliest towns.

Apalachicola

Apalachicola boasts a unique blend of shops, restaurants, and beaches that keep you entertained throughout your stay. The locals are always eager to help visitors and give great advice about enjoying all that this historic town has to offer. This includes a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking trails, fishing spots, kayaking routes, bird watching areas, and more. Apalachicola also offers a number of boat tours from which you can explore the natural beauty of the Gulf of Mexico.

The town is also home to several beautiful landmarks, such as the Saint George Island Bridge, Crooked River Lighthouse, and Fort Gadsden Historic Site. No visit here would be complete without savoring some fresh seafood dishes at one of its many restaurants. The area is known for its delicious oysters, which can be enjoyed on the waterfront by boat or by foot at one of the many local eateries.

Mexico Beach

The locals in Mexico Beach are known for being welcoming and friendly, and that spirit is evident throughout the town. Visitors will be greeted with a warm smile wherever they go. This small coastal community has something to offer everyone. From its beautiful white sand beaches to its charming downtown area, Mexico Beach has great attractions and activities for visitors of all ages.

The stunningly scenic beachfront is a major draw for many people visiting Mexico Beach. The wide, powder-soft sand stretches for miles along the coastline, allowing plenty of space for sunbathing or taking walks in nature. Just offshore lies St Joe Bay, where tourists can enjoy swimming, kayaking, and fishing.

Of course, no trip to Mexico Beach would be complete without trying some of the local cuisine. Fresh seafood dishes are popular with locals and tourists alike. A must-try restaurant in this area is Killer Seafood. Its menu includes seafood tacos, burgers, and quesadillas.

Panama City

Located on the beautiful St. Andrews Bay, Panama Cityoffers an ideal combination of beach and city life. Its Historic Downtown district features many unique shops and restaurants, while its waterfront beaches offer tranquil relaxation with stunning views of the bay. Visitors will find ample opportunities to enjoy nature here as well, from birdwatching to boating and fishing.

Accommodations are plentiful: resorts, hotels, campgrounds, condos, and vacation homes all make up this friendly little town. There are a variety of attractions nearby as well—the ZooWorld Zoological Park is perfect for animal lovers, Shipwreck Island Waterpark offers endless family fun in the sun during summer months, and Gulf World Marine Park provides great educational programs.

Destin

Destin stands out as a popular vacation spot for tourists and locals alike thanks to its exceptional white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and charming atmosphere. With activities like water parks, fishing charters, golf courses, unique shops, and restaurants, you won't be disappointed.

The friendly people of Destin constantly make visitors feel welcome. The local businesses are especially hospitable; from beach-side bars to tourist attractions — they will always greet you with a warm smile and a helpful attitude that keeps people coming back year after year. In addition to all these amazing things about Destin is the fact that it is home to some of Florida's most iconic landmarks, the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, which has been a part of Destin since 1955. Other popular attractions include the Fort Walton Beach Air Force Armament Museum and the Emerald Coast Science Center.

Seaside

Not only does Seaside offer stunning views of the clear blue waters along its coastline, but it is also known for its friendly locals and welcoming atmosphere. It is a small town, yet it continues to draw visitors from all around looking to experience its unique charm.

The primary attraction in Seaside is the iconic Seaside Central Square, which houses many restaurants, shops, and bookstores. This square, surrounded by cottages painted in bright colors, offers a unique setting for anyone looking to explore the area. Visitors will find that each local business has their own brand of hospitality, and many shop owners will go out of their way to you feel like family.

Seaside also stunning beaches with crystal clear waters and white sand that stretch for miles in either direction. A walk along the shoreline is a perfect way to take it all in, from the waves to the friendly beachgoers. Visitors can also explore some of Seaside's unique landmarks located along the waterfront, including The Seaside Amphitheater, which hosts live music events throughout the year.

Freeport

This small town has a population of just over 6,000 and offers the perfect balance between rural charm and modern amenities. Residents are friendly and welcoming to visitors from all walks of life. There is a true sense of community amongst its citizens that makes it easy to feel at home here.

The atmosphere in Freeport is relaxed and tranquil with plenty to do and see. From downtown shops such as antique stores, boutiques, and bakeries, to outdoor activities like fishing charters or kayaking tours along Choctawhatchee Bay — Freeport has something for everyone to enjoy.

The friendliness of Freeport extends to its local eateries as well. Many restaurants offer locally sourced ingredients and dishes with a unique Southern twist. Local farmers' markets are also popular spots for fresh produce and other products made by locals.

Pensacola Beach

Located on Santa Rosa Island, a narrow barrier island that separates Pensacola Bay from the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola Beach offers a laid-back atmosphere and plenty to do for all visitors. From pristine beaches with powdery white sand to world class fishing and countless restaurants and entertainment venues, it's easy to see why locals love living here.

One of the main attractions in Pensacola Beach is Fort Pickens, which was constructed in 1816 by the U.S. Army. This historic site gives visitors a glimpse into the past and offers opportunities to explore the fort's tunnels, barracks, and the surrounding beaches that offer stunning views of Pensacola Bay. Nearby is also Johnson Beach, which is known for its crystal clear waters, making it perfect for swimming, fishing, kayaking or just relaxing on its white sand shores.

Cedar Key

Cedar Key is a small island community located on the Gulf Coast of Florida. This small town has been around since 18th century when settlers first moved to this area to start up a fishing industry. Cedar Key has retained its historical character over the years with quaint cottages peppered throughout town, along with specialty shops and restaurants serving fresh seafood caught in local waters.

The town is also well-known for its beautiful beaches and outdoor activities such as swimming, boating, bird watching, and nature walks. It offers visitors plenty of opportunities to enjoy some of the best scenery in Florida. The main beach, Cedar Key Public Beach, has beautiful sand and clear water, while the nearby Cedar Key Wildlife Refuge is home to a variety of wildlife.

Other attractions include the Cedar Key Historical Museum, where visitors can learn about the town's past. It also boasts the Cedar Keys lighthouse and a few oyster bar restaurants.

In Summary

From vibrant downtowns to peaceful beachside towns, Florida's Emerald Coast is truly a place to behold. Whether you're looking for a relaxing getaway or an exciting adventure, the Emerald Coast is sure to provide it all!

No matter which town you choose, you can be certain that the locals will welcome you with open arms and make your stay even more enjoyable. So explore the friendly towns along Florida's Emerald Coast today — you won't be disappointed!

19 Indigo Snakes Released in Seventh Annual Effort to Return the Important Native Species to the Region

Today, 19 young eastern indigo snakes were released in northern Florida, marking the seventh consecutive year of a collaborative program to return the native, non-venomous apex predator to the region. The multi-partner effort brings the snakes—listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act—to TNC’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve (ABRP) in Bristol, to...

Today, 19 young eastern indigo snakes were released in northern Florida, marking the seventh consecutive year of a collaborative program to return the native, non-venomous apex predator to the region. The multi-partner effort brings the snakes—listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act—to TNC’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve (ABRP) in Bristol, to continue efforts to establish a growing population to support species recovery in this ideal protected habitat.

The eastern indigo species recovery effort in North Florida is the long-term joint commitment of multiple nonprofit, agency, and academic partners including: The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Welaka National Fish Hatchery, The Orianne Society, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Southern Company through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The partners have worked together for decades to restore and manage the habitat required by the snake, and many other species, to make the release possible.

Raised specifically for release, the 19 snakes bring the total number of indigos released on the property to date to 126.

"Decades of innovative ecological restoration work at TNC's Center for Conservation Initiatives' Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve have led to this point, welcoming this keystone species back home to its native sandhill habitat," said Andrew Rappe, Preserve Management Director, TNC Florida.

The eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi) is the longest snake native to North America and an iconic and essential component of the now rare southern longleaf pine ecosystem. It serves a critical function to balance the wildlife community by consuming a variety of small animals including both venomous and non-venomous snakes. Reaching lengths over eight feet long, the indigo often relies upon gopher tortoise burrows for shelter during cold weather. The snakes were historically found in southern Georgia, Alabama, eastern Mississippi, and throughout Florida, though their range is now far more restricted. Largely eliminated from northern Florida due to habitat loss and fragmentation, the indigo was last observed at ABRP in 1982, until the species recovery effort began in 2017.

In the past year, numerous indigos from previous releases have been observed on ABRP. Along with traditional foot surveys to monitor snakes, Michelle Hoffman (OCIC) uses trail cameras at the mouths of tortoise burrows and at intersections of fencing, some of which are paired with automatic PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tag readers, to detect snakes as they pass by. Trail cameras have taken hundreds of photos of indigos in various locations, including at all seven fence areas—or drift fence arrays.

ABRP is the only site in Florida currently designated for indigo reintroduction. The 6,430-acre nature preserve in northern Florida’s Liberty County protects a large longleaf pine landscape carved by numerous seepage streams and is home to the gopher tortoise and the full suite of longleaf pine specialist species. Located in the Apalachicola Bay region along the Apalachicola River, the preserve lies in the center of one of five biological hotspots in North America and is home to a great number of imperiled plants and animals. The preserve is a living laboratory for the development of restoration techniques and land management excellence. Our Center for Conservation Initiatives (CCI), brings ABRP and TNC’s other campus preserves together to advance conservation through education and training, outreach and volunteerism, science and research, innovation and land stewardship in Florida.

Only 5% of the longleaf pine ecosystem remains globally. Over the past 30-plus years, we have employed science and technical expertise to develop the state-of-the-art groundcover restoration process that is now used by state, federal and private partners across the southeast to restore longleaf pine habitat. This restoration, combined with our robust prescribed fire program, resulted in improved longleaf habitat on over 100,000 public and private North Florida acres in recent years. Controlled burning has been used by Native American Tribes across North America for thousands of years to encourage wild food plants, improve habitat for local animals and reduce the likelihood of destructive wildfires.

The 19 two-year-old snakes released at ABRP were bred and hatched by the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC), the world's foremost comprehensive-based conservation organization dedicated to the captive propagation and reintroduction of the eastern indigo snake. All hatched in 2021, the ten males and nine females were raised for one year at the OCIC and transferred to the Welaka National Fish Hatchery for an additional year in preparation for their release. The snakes have been implanted with PIT tags by the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ veterinary staff to allow for identification when encountered after release.

“It is bittersweet to see these young indigos released into the wild. So much effort is placed into caring for these snakes, from incubating the eggs through their first two years of care, that it is sad to see them go. It is such a good feeling, however, to see these majestic snakes in their natural environment, claiming their role as an apex predator of the longleaf pine ecosystem,” said Dr. James Bogan, Director, Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation.

The Welaka National Fish Hatchery, run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is located along the St. Johns River in Putnam County, Florida. Known primarily for striped bass, channel catfish and bluegill, the hatchery also raises at-risk Florida grasshopper sparrows, in addition to indigo snakes. The snakes are fed a steady diet of dead mice, quail chicks and rainbow trout, and grow to about five feet in length before release.

“This year’s camera monitoring has documented dozens of snakes in several different areas on the preserve. It is so exciting to see these snakes growing and doing well,” said David Printiss, Florida Fire Program Director/North America Fire Specialist, TNC in Florida.

The indigo reintroduction efforts are supported by grants and other funding, including a Conserve Wildlife Tag Grant from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, funded through purchase of Conserve Wildlife Florida license plates and designated for conservation of non-game species and the habitats that support them.

"The reintroduction of eastern indigo snakes into the Florida Panhandle is a great conservation story. It's a perfect example of why partnerships are so important to our mission, values and shared goals. The Nature Conservancy, Central Florida Zoo's Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and many others, have come together to benefit this species. We are looking forward to continuing collaborative work in monitoring this new population," noted Jennifer Goff, Deputy Director of the FWC's Division of Habitat and Species Conservation.

Additional funding to support the reintroduction has been provided by Southern Company through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Orianne Society was integral in the creation of the OCIC and the indigo snake reintroduction team and continues to play a role in reintroducing eastern indigo snakes into places they no longer occur. The Society works to conserve critical ecosystems for imperiled reptiles and amphibians, using science, applied conservation, and education.

We continue to focus on the establishment of healthy ecosystems through collaborative land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts, and throughout the state, pursues conservation projects and supports policy that protect natural systems for people and wildlife. Next year's snake release will be scheduled for spring 2024—stay tuned.

Chasing Shadows: The Forgotten Coast, birthplace of Florida

Sandra Cole Guest ColumnistLet’s talk about some history of the area. You might remember in a previous article I mentioned Old Shell Road and part of Treasure Road in the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve. We will talk about it some more in this article. This week will feature pictures of Henry Drake, family and friends. The connection to the Buffer Preserve is that Drake wrote an account of St. Joseph, and had pictures taken from the 1920s to the 1940s of the area. This article includ...

Sandra Cole

Guest Columnist

Let’s talk about some history of the area. You might remember in a previous article I mentioned Old Shell Road and part of Treasure Road in the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve. We will talk about it some more in this article. This week will feature pictures of Henry Drake, family and friends. The connection to the Buffer Preserve is that Drake wrote an account of St. Joseph, and had pictures taken from the 1920s to the 1940s of the area. This article includes pictures of the Drakes and friends as they were driving on Shell Road on their way to Cape San Blas and St. Vincent Island in the 1930s. Drake was a cashier in Iron City, Georgia at the Citizens Bank. Being only 18 years old, he was the youngest in Georgia at the time and probably in the nation. Pictures tell us he lived in Port St. Joe in 1917, but that was not the exact time he moved here.

The history of Old St. Joseph is fascinating and to think that travel took place along a road, part of which goes through the Buffer Preserve, is even more exciting. Drake in March 1967 wrote “The Rise and Fall of Old St. Joseph, Birthplace of Florida,” his version of the history of the ancient city from 1812 to 1854 and the ensuing dormancy of the area prior to 1910. According to Winston’s Encyclopedia, Florida was first explored in 1512 by Ponce de Leon, a Spanish adventurer. It was ceded to Great Britain by Spain in 1763 in exchange for Cuba and reacquired by the Spaniards in 1781. It was ceded to the United States in 1821 and organized as a territory in 1822. The year 1838 was an important one in Florida history. On February 2, the Territorial Council, seated at Tallahassee, selected St. Joseph over older and larger cities in the territory, such as Pensacola, St. Augustine and Tallahassee, as a site for the drafting of a state constitution, preparatory to Florida becoming a state of the union. According to legend, St. Joseph, situated on beautiful St. Joseph Bay, had its beginning as a community about 1812 while the territory was still under Spanish rule. The U.S. government established a post office at St. Joseph on Dec. 28, 1835 and the community, then a part of Franklin County, was chartered as a municipality on Jan. 11, 1836. The site is now in Gulf County. The convention date was set for Monday, Dec. 3, 1838. Florida had been a territory only since 1821 when it was purchased from Spain at an average price of 14 cents an acre. At the time there were only an estimated 4,560 white persons in the territory. According to a special census just prior to the convention, Florida itself had only 48,223 residents. In a special 1837 referendum on statehood, only 2,214 votes were cast, with 1,274 against statehood. Delegates from throughout territorial Florida began arriving at St. Joseph, by land and sea, the first weekend in December 1838. The promoters of St. Joseph had been quite successful in getting the town well established throughout 1835 and by the time of the convention it was prospering well. Among the hotels offering excellent accommodations for the convention were the Byron, Pickwick, Fontaine Mansion House, Shakespeare, Railroad Cottage and the German Ocean House. The Convention Hall had been built by E. J. Wood, one of the leaders of the St. Joseph project, a director of the Lake Wimico and St. Joseph Canal and Railroad Company and a representative of Franklin County in the Territorial Council. Paintings of many famous American statesmen decorated the interior walls of the hall.

Only 46 of the 56 delegates elected were on hand when the convention assembled at noon December 3. The Rev. Peter W. Gautier, Sr., a Methodist minister, opened the convention with prayer. In the selection of St. Joseph as a site for the convention, shrewd politics (then as now) played a major role. Peter W. Gautier, Jr., editor of the St. Joseph Times and also a Franklin County representative to the Territorial Legislative Council of Florida, succeeded in getting the new county of Calhoun created from Franklin County, with St. Joseph designated as the county seat. In the same year Gautier, a lawyer by training, received an appointment as U.S. marshal for the Apalachicola District, which covered most of the present area of Northwest Florida. The Calhoun County delegates, controlled by the promoters of St. Joseph, were William P. Duval and Richard C. Allen, considered two of the ablest men in the territory in terms of prestige and ability. The Saints had hoped to get Duval named chairman and thereby control the convention. However, upon a count of the votes cast, Duval lost the chairmanship to Judge Robert Raymond Reid of St. Augustine by one vote. On Jan. 11, 1839 the constitution was read for final passage and when put to a vote resulted in 55 for, and one against. The lone dissenting vote was by Dade County delegate Richard Fitzpatrick, who was still angered over the controversy regarding territorial banks whose bonds, under law, had been guaranteed by the territory. Agreement on this was reached, however, when the convention voted to submit the constitution to the people for ratification. The referendum election was held May 6, 1839 and the results were close, with a majority of only 113 votes for ratification, the vote being 2,071 for and 1,958 against. The results were not announced until Feb. 19, 1841. The exact reason for the delay is not known but Calhoun County, which had lost the chairmanship upon organization of the convention voted heavily against ratification, the vote being 275 to 73. The constitution specified Tallahassee as the capital for five years upon Florida becoming a state, after which a permanent capital would be chosen. This might have been except for the desolation and destruction that had befallen St. Joseph prior to the territory’s admission as a state in 1845 – all a consequence of the 1841 epidemic of yellow fever and the bank failures throughout the country which, with the decline in cotton prices, resulted in the 1842 bankruptcy of the St. Joseph and Iola Railroad built in 1836. Following the referendum vote and after six years of political strife and turmoil, in which statehood as well as the proposed division of Florida into two territories (East and West) was debated throughout the territory, Congress passed an act admitting Florida and Iowa as states.

We will save more on Old St. Joseph and the state of Florida for later articles and talk about what you might see when you walk the trails at the Buffer Preserve. We hope you can enjoy the roads and trails. If you are interested in participating in a group, we began touring each road the First Friday in November. We walk from the parking area to Cattle Dip and North Spur, then ride on the tram on Treasure Road and walk the different roads. Walking along Treasure Road you should see the beautiful pine lily close to the ditches. The pine lily, listed in Florida as a threatened flower, blooms from July through October and likes to grow in the wet prairie/mesic flatwoods.

Liatris like roadsides, open woodlands, damp or dry soils depending on the species. Liatris are unusual because the flower buds at the top of the stalk open first, succeeded by those lower on the stalk. For more information, call 850-229-1787. Buffer Preserve Manager Dylan Shoemaker encourages everyone in the community to join and become active in the Friends Citizen Support Organization, which is important to state facilities like the preserve.

The Scenic Drive To Apalachicola, Florida Is Almost As Beautiful As The Destination Itself

If you ever need a reminder of how stunning the Florida Panhandle is, take a ride along the Big Bend Scenic Byway. This is the route to take when driving to a delightful and historic fishing town in Florida. This drive to Apalachicola offers so much to the average traveler, with over 200 miles of wildlife, woods, and waterways. It’s one of the most beautiful Florida scenic drives around!AdvertisementAdvertisement...

If you ever need a reminder of how stunning the Florida Panhandle is, take a ride along the Big Bend Scenic Byway. This is the route to take when driving to a delightful and historic fishing town in Florida. This drive to Apalachicola offers so much to the average traveler, with over 200 miles of wildlife, woods, and waterways. It’s one of the most beautiful Florida scenic drives around!

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This 525-Mile Road Trip Leads To Some Of The Most Scenic Parts Of Florida, No Matter What Time Of Year It Is

The Fairytale Road Trip That'll Lead You To Some Of Florida's Most Magical Places

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Have you ever taken this scenic byway drive to Apalachicola, Florida before? What are some of the best aspects of this drive? We would love to know your thoughts!

Do you have any other favorite scenic byways in Florida? Share your recommendations with us in the comments section! If you want more information about making this journey to Apalachicola along this route, check out the Florida Big Bend Scenic Byway website. Before you go, be sure to check out The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List by OnlyInYourState so you can feel fully prepared for your fun trip! You can head out feeling totally confident that you have everything you need.

Are Florida scenic byways your thing? Then buckle up! You’re going to love these other incredibly scenic road trips in Florida.

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Danielle Schwartz | August 23, 2023

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Apalachicola escaped inmate believed to be in Eastpoint

EASTPOINT, Fla. (WCTV) - An inmate who escaped his work site at 10 Foot Hole in Apalachicola Monday afternoon is now believed to be in Eastpoint. That’s according to Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.In a video on Facebook around 12:10 p.m. on Thursday, Sheriff A.J. Tony Smith stated that they have evidence that indicates the ...

EASTPOINT, Fla. (WCTV) - An inmate who escaped his work site at 10 Foot Hole in Apalachicola Monday afternoon is now believed to be in Eastpoint. That’s according to Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

In a video on Facebook around 12:10 p.m. on Thursday, Sheriff A.J. Tony Smith stated that they have evidence that indicates the “armed and dangerous” inmate, Robert Rutherford, made it across the river into Eastpoint.

Rutherford was possibly seen a few hours before Smith’s Facebook noon update, but the sheriff’s office did not receive an immediate call, according to Smith.

Around 12:50 p.m., the sheriff’s office shared an updated description of the inmate. Rutherford was last seen wearing a camouflage jacket, khaki pants, grey and red beanie, and a white and black backpack, according to the sheriff’s office. He is wearing the backpack on his back and has no facial hair.

Deputies believe Rutherford is trying to make his way to Pasco County, where he’s from, per sheriff Smith.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is advising East Point citizens to lock their doors and be vigilant. “If you see anybody suspicious that you don’t know, please call 911,” said Smith.

A reward up to $5,000 is still being offered for anyone who may have information that leads to the arrest of the escaped inmate.

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Why Florida Has Stopped Harvesting Apalachicola Oysters

Apalachicola Bay is tucked into the northwest side of St. George Island in Florida, where it is a unique estuarine ecosystem that has historically facilitated the growth of some of the country's best oysters. Thanks to the meeting of freshwater and saltwater in the bay, Apalachicola oysters are uniquely tasty. They have...

Apalachicola Bay is tucked into the northwest side of St. George Island in Florida, where it is a unique estuarine ecosystem that has historically facilitated the growth of some of the country's best oysters. Thanks to the meeting of freshwater and saltwater in the bay, Apalachicola oysters are uniquely tasty. They have previously accounted for 90% of the oysters available in restaurants and retail across Florida and 10% of oysters across the nation.

Located between the island and the town of Apalachicola is the bay in question — 208 square miles of prime oyster-growing waters. Apalachicola has been called "oyster town" and was heralded by some as the oyster capital of the world. But in 2020, the state of Florida imposed a moratorium on harvesting these delectable oysters, in effect until 2025. Officials across disciplines are working hard to make sure that this halt is just a temporary pause, not a permanent end, to Apalachicola Bay's beloved oyster fishery.

The Apalachicola Bay is the perfect environment to grow healthy and flavorful oysters

Apalachicola Bay oysters are both economically and culturally significant. They represent critical income for the oyster harvesters in Florida, a coastal state where fisheries are an important industry. Oysters are also a beloved dietary staple for people who enjoy the oysters' salty punch all across the country.

The environment an oyster is grown greatly impacts its taste and quality. St. George Island provides a perfect barrier between the bay and the ocean, creating a safe haven for oysters. Meanwhile, the freshwater rivers bring nutrients into the bay, helping the oysters to develop into large, plump adults. The mix of saltwater and freshwater present in an estuary like this is called "brackish" water, and it facilitates the growth of healthy oysters.

It takes three years for the oysters to reach harvest size, which is about three inches. By then, they are bursting with flavor and rewarding saltwater taste, so it's no surprise that their reputation has grown to such epic proportions.

Environmental conditions and decreasing oyster population have led to a pause in harvesting

Because Apalachicola oysters depend on brackish waters for their unique flavor profile, environmental conditions have created a pressing predicament for oyster health. Several years of drought in Florida have resulted in insufficient freshwater for the oysters, leading to oyster mortality. On top of drought, other issues such as over-harvesting, exposure to stormwater runoff, and damage caused by Hurricane Michael in 2018 have also had an impact. (Some also blame Georgia's overuse of the water that feeds the bay as a contributing factor in the oyster fishing industry's decline; the Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit in 2021 on the matter, stating Florida "has not proved by clear and convincing evidence that the collapse of its oyster fisheries was caused by Georgia's overconsumption.")

Florida has been taking increasing conservation measures for years to try and help improve oyster health, but efforts to improve water quality and put caps on harvests have not been enough. In 2020, Florida imposed a moratorium on the wild oyster harvest from Apalachicola Bay through 2025, so the future of this historic fishery remains uncertain (via Pensacola News Journal).

While state officials, scientists, students, industry workers, and other stakeholders are working together on various initiatives to bring this significant industry back to Apalachicola Bay, oyster farmers have picked up some of the slack. Xochitl Bervera from Apalachicola Bay's Near Future Farms told Tasting Table their goal is to "ensure that the wild reefs have the time they need [to] recover," while still providing the local community with high-quality oysters. According to Florida Insider, there are about 700 companies holding oyster farming licenses across the state.

First Alert Weather: Tropical storm to develop in Gulf

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The National Hurricane Center has forecast that the system developing in the Caribbean now has an 80% chance of development over the next 7 days. It has a 50% chance for developing over the next 2 days.Gov. Ron DeSantis has urged Floridians to be prepared as we keep an eye on the the Gulf.I’ve directed @KevinGuthrieFL & the FL Emerge...

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The National Hurricane Center has forecast that the system developing in the Caribbean now has an 80% chance of development over the next 7 days. It has a 50% chance for developing over the next 2 days.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has urged Floridians to be prepared as we keep an eye on the the Gulf.

I’ve directed @KevinGuthrieFL & the FL Emergency Management team to prepare for a potential tropical system currently moving across the Yucatán Peninsula.Residents should remain vigilant and prepare for possible impacts early next week. Follow @FLSERT for updates. pic.twitter.com/EXVrFI8PzS

— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) August 24, 2023

In the short term, enjoy a hot and sunny couple of days. Drier air has moved in, and rain chances will stay low on Saturday and then the rain chances will start to rise a little on Sunday. By Monday those rain chances will go up to 50% for scattered late day storms and it will be breezy with winds out of the ENE at 15-20 mph.

It will be hot this weekend with highs in the low to mid 90s. Stay vigilant this weekend and current on the forecast. If you have not already done so, have a hurricane plan of action in place and ready to activate if need be. Until the low pressure center forms it is very difficult to say with confidence where this storm is heading at this time. If it becomes a stronger storm then it will track more toward the panhandle of Florida if it is a weak storm then it will move closer to SW Florida. That is what it looks like now but there is a lot of uncertainty with this system. We are nearing the peak of hurricane season and water temperatures in the Gulf are above average for this time of year. It looks like we could see a tropical storm to a low level hurricane in the Gulf by Tuesday on next week.

We could use some rain and it looks like we will get it mainly Tuesday and Wednesday which are both First Alert Weather Days next week.

Most intensity models keep it as a tropical storm, however one has it as a cat. 1 hurricane by late Tuesday. We have to monitor this system closely over the weekend. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and have the ABC7 First Alert Weather app on your phone.

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