Viera Wetlands

Located between the Moccasin Island Tract of the River Lakes Conservation Area and the Brevard Zoo, the Viera Wetlands are popular among birders, photographers, and eco-tourists. Natural Resources Management Department staff, assisted by members of the Viera Wetlands Volunteer Program, provide land management for this constructed treatment wetland system belonging to Brevard County Utility Services. The Viera Wetlands consist of the larger Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera and nearby Storage Ponds.

When weather conditions permit, the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands are accessible by automobile, making the site popular among those who find the rigors of hiking trails and summer temperatures daunting. Even better, viewing from the comfort and safety of an automobile screens visitors from the view of birds and wildlife, enhancing the experience.

Due to safety concerns, the Storage Ponds are open to the public only occasionally, and only when accompanied by County staff or authorized volunteers. The Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands are open during posted hours even when vehicle access is limited by wet road conditions.  Volunteers maintain a Road Hotline with current vehicular access information: (321) 255-4488 

Ritch Grissom Wetlands

The Board of County Commissioners designated the South Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility's constructed treatment wetlands as the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera in December, 2007, in memory of Ritch Grissom, a longtime employee of Brevard County who worked at the adjacent treatment facility.

In 2008, the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands were included in the East Section of the Great Florida Birding Trail.

In 2014, the access road leading to the entrance of the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands was named in honor of the late Charlie Corbeil, long-time volunteer at the site.

Approximately 210,000 visitors/year pass through the main entrance to the constructed treatment wetland system, many drawn by the site's breathtaking views and stunning abundance of wildlife.

The treatment wetlands are an integral component of Brevard County's water reuse system. Providing increased water quality and savings over traditional water treatment methods, the constructed wetland system polishes reclaimed water for irrigation or overflow into the adjacent Four-mile Canal.

The treatment wetlands consist of 200 acres divided into four cells of approximately 35 acres each, plus a central lake. The cells were designed to maintain differing depths of water, reflecting diverse wetland conditions.

A special mitigation littoral zone along the lake's shoreline is carefully monitored to assess wetland health and wildlife utilization. While functioning as a healthy, productive, and effective polishing system for water reuse, the wetlands further provide for a biologically diverse ecosystem — affording visitors a wonderful, close-up opportunity to view Brevard County's native wildlife and vegetation.

Driving Directions

The Viera Wetlands are located approximately two miles west of a traffic circle at the Wickham Road and Lake Andrew Drive intersection.

Visitors traveling on I-95 should take exit 191 and head west, continuing straight  through the traffic circle, for approximately 2.5 miles.

To reach the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands, continue on Charlie Corbeil Way to the main entrance, bypassing the restricted access gates to the treatment facility.

For your safety while visiting the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands

  • Never leave children unattended.
  • Do not feed or approach alligators or other wildlife.
  • Stay well back from the shoreline: No swimming or wading.
  • Hunting and fishing are not allowed.
  • Pets must remain attended and on leashes at all times.
  • Before exiting any vehicle, set the brake and turn off the ignition.
  • Do not drive on the turf. Stay on designated roadways.

Berm Closures

The wetland berm roads are occasionally closed to vehicles for reasons that include wet conditions, repairs, water testing, or safety concerns. Even when closed to vehicles, the berms are typically open to pedestrian traffic and non-motorized vehicles, except in the case of a serious safety concern.

Visitors may wish to call road condition hotline (321-255-4488) to check on berm conditions before their trip. Volunteers usually determine road conditions for the following day while closing during the evening, at which time they update the hotline if necessary.

Field Trips, Workshops, and Tours

Authorization for schools, organizations, or individuals to conduct field trips, workshops, or tours is subject to prior approval, and contingent upon the availability of Wetland Ranger volunteers in order to address the County’s site security and public safety concerns. A signed Special Use Authorization may be required, issued by the site’s Environmental Land Manager.

Special Events

Any event that might require the wetland's berm roads to be closed in whole or part to vehicular traffic, or may require overflow parking outside of designated areas, or may impact routine public access, could require a Special Event Permit. Requests for such events are subject to prior review by the site's Environmental Land Manager on a case-by-case basis, and approval for such is further subject to the availability of County staff or volunteer Wetland Rangers on the requested date(s) in order to address the County’s site security and public-safety concerns.


Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands Video

History and purpose of the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands (also known as Viera Wetlands) which have become a favorite birding/wildlife attraction in Brevard County Florida. Learn why and how the site was constructed, what habitats are found there, and see some of the plant and wildlife species you may see on a visit.

Viera Voice News Video

Come take a tour with Florida Master Naturalist Charlie Corbeil as he captures beautiful wildlife at the Viera Wetlands.

Volunteer Information

Unique Challenges

Because the site is neither a park nor a nature preserve, but was constructed as part of the adjacent water reclamation facility, the Viera Wetlands face unique staff and funding challenges. The Viera Wetlands Volunteer Program was created to address these challenges. Habitat management, wildlife monitoring, site security, safety concerns, and fundraising are but a few of the many areas in which volunteer contributions are vital. Volunteers with the Viera Wetlands Volunteer Program annually contribute more than 2700 hours of service, which represents a value of almost $60,000!

Volunteer Activities

Volunteer activities at the Viera Wetlands fall into three classes

  • Occasional-service volunteers participate in work events of limited scope and duration, such as annual festivals, trail-blazing, and trash cleanups. No volunteer application is necessary for these events, and we will provide on-site training and all necessary equipment on the day of the event. School groups and organizations searching for volunteer opportunities also fall into this category.
  • Regular-service volunteers participate in ongoing activities, such as gardening projects, stocking brochures, outdoor land management activities, and monitoring wildlife, just to name a few. Our regular-service volunteers receive fundamental training basic to all volunteer activities, plus a County-issued photo ID badge, subject to security checks.
  • Wetland Rangers undergo additional in-depth training and rigorous background checks. Wetland Rangers are issued both an ID badge and a distinctive vest. They serve as ambassadors for the wetlands and address key site safety and security issues, including closing the wetlands, conducting after-hour tours, and leading field trips for visiting school groups. Wetland Rangers also take the lead in coordinating special work teams and events.


A volunteer meeting is held on the second Tuesday of each month to discuss Viera Wetlands Volunteer Program issues. Meetings are held in the Natural Resources Management Department offices at the Viera Government Complex, 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Building A, Room 219. Attendees gather beginning at 5:00 PM; meetings commence promptly at 5:30 PM and generally conclude by 7:00 PM.

For New Volunteers

For Registered Volunteers

Viera Wetlands Wildflowers

In November 2006, Brevard County Natural Resource Management Department was awarded an $11,004.00 educational grant by the Florida Wildflower Foundation, Inc. to demonstrate the use of wildflowers along the banks of lakes, ponds, and similar freshwater settings. The funds were provided through the sale of Florida Wildflower License Plates, featuring the state wildflower, the coreopsis.

The wetlands were selected as the site for this project due to their unique setting and popularity as a birding and eco-tourism destination. The entire wetlands central lake perimeter, approximately one mile of shoreline, was seeded with Florida wildflower species.

A covered gazebo surrounded by a butterfly garden and demonstration rain barrel system were funded through the grant, and overlook the central lake.

Florida Specialty License Plate -  State Wildflower