CAUTION - RANAVIRUS - CREDIT RIVER
Drift Outfitters has received notice today from our contacts at the Greg Clark chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) and the Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) regarding the Ranavirus that has been confirmed in the Credit River Watershed.
If you have been fishing in the Credit River please disinfect your gear, including your waders and boots. Transmission of this virus to other areas and watersheds is very possible. Thoroughly drying your gear is not a protective measure against Ranavirus, explained below, treatment of your gear is necessary.
We are not experts on this matter, and we are relying upon information released from credible sources on this matter. For more information, please contact the experts.
Here is what we received:
A mass mortality event of frogs at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park was reported by a member of the public to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) on May 20th 2020. Lenny Shirose (CWHC) shared this information and made a request for additional information from members of the public on an Ontario herpetofauna Facebook page. A local naturalist then shared photos of dead Northern Leopard Frogs from the Kettle Lake, taken on May 26th confirming the mortality event. Lenny Shirose then requested samples from the site to confirm the cause as Ranavirus.
Ranaviruses are fatal and can infect amphibians, reptiles and fish.
Jessica Consiglio and myself visited the site on May 29th outside of work hours to determine the extent of the mortality event and observed approximately fifty dead Northern Leopard frogs in and adjacent to the Kettle Lake. A dead Green Frog was also observed nearby in the Credit River and submitted to the CWHC for testing. Test results confirmed Ranavirus in both the Green Frog and Northern Leopard Frog samples. A dead Fathead Minnow was also submitted, however results from PCR have not yet been received and will be shared when available.
If you are in the area, please send observations of dead or lethargic frogs, dead fish (in addition to spills reporting) or visibly ill turtles to Jessica (firstname.lastname@example.org). One of the concerns is potential movement of the virus into other areas.
Drying waders and equipment is not effective against Ranaviruses.
Here are some decontamination instructions and options to be aware of: Immersion for one minute in a dilute bleach solution is sufficient to neutralize Ranaviruses and has the added benefit of being readily available, as well as breaking down fairly quickly in the environment. Using necessary PPE (personal protective equipment), add 1 part bleach to 19 parts water (e.g. add approximately 1 litre of bleach to 19 litres of tap water, or for smaller batches 50 ml of bleach to 950 ml of water).
If bleach is not readily available, immersion of gear in undiluted ethanol (70% concentration of ethyl alcohol) has been proven to be effective at inactivating Ranaviruses with an exposure time of one minute. However, ethanol may damage rubber and plastics and should also be used with proper PPE.
If available, submersion of gear in Virkon (prepared as per manufacturer’s recommendations) for one minute will also inactivate Ranaviruses.
Park staff have been notified of these results. CVC is not currently carrying out field work in the area, our senior management will be briefed to determine next steps. However, in the interim when field work does resume, our Ecology and Monitoring group is planning to decontaminate all gear after accessing any forest, wetland or stream in the provincial park, in the vicinity of Charleston Sdrd or further north at Charles Sauriol CA.