The Viera Wetlands will close in mid-June for cleanup work that is expected to last about six months.
The berm roads are already shuttered to vehicle traffic, including golf carts since 2021. The Wetlands will now also remain closed to bicycles and pedestrians while the $2.7 million project is being done.
Funding for the Wetlands project comes from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act.
The county already had closed the berm roads to vehicle traffic due to safety concerns and environmental issues.
“The extensive cleanup project will comprise of muck dredging and the removal of dead vegetation to make the area safer to the public and address some environmental concerns,” said Don Walker, the Brevard County communications director at the Utility Services Department.
“While the renovations take place, the Wetlands will be closed to public access.”
Also known as the Rich Grissom Memorial Wetlands, it’s one of Brevard County’s ultimate eco-tourism destinations for photographers, birders and lovers of Florida’s wildlife with more than 200,000 visitors a year.
“Additionally, two bird lookout towers and a gazebo will also be removed which have been roped off to the public for some time, as they were deemed unsafe,” Walker said. “There aren’t any plans to rebuild them at this time.”
The Wetlands were established in the 1980s as Brevard County’s South-Central Wastewater Treatment Plant to address water recycling in Viera. It provides a necessary biological function in the treatment of water, as the natural vegetation reduces solids, phosphorus and nitrogen.
It officially became part of the Great Florida Birding Trail in 2008, with one mile of shoreland covering 200 acres.
“Once the project is completed, it will admit bike and pedestrian traffic only,” Walker said. “The Board has opted not to allow vehicle access inside after reopening, as there are no funds allocated in the budget for road paving and other improvements.”
Walker said the county did not have the money to make this area handicap accessible.
Anita Ingram, a Viera resident who visits the Wetlands weekly, started a community Facebook group in 2021 called the Viera Wetlands.
“I started a Facebook group to keep our neighbors and community informed on what’s taking place,” Ingram said. “Most residents and visitors don’t realize that the main objective of the Wetlands is for the recycling of water treatment and the county has provided access to the park for the public to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty and wildlife.
“I’m happy the maintenance has been scheduled, as it will ensure public safety and address environmental concerns.”
Bruce Lott recently was visiting his son from Vancouver and this was his third visit to the Wetlands.
“I retired from a busy sales job traveling between Canada and the States and the Wetlands are a great place to capture scenery and wildlife as photography is one of my hobbies now,” Lott said.
“This time, I noticed a lot of garbage and overgrown vegetation at the park and I’m glad there’s a cleanup project scheduled, which I wasn’t aware of. We conduct regular maintenance in our Canadian parks to keep areas clean and maintain public safety.”
Look for updates in upcoming editions of Viera Voice and on vieravoice.com.