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drain the lake
and dam the consequences

by Kathy Pick

As I wait patiently for the Queen Charlotte Power Corporation to complete there studies and reports, and for them to conduct a public review process of their intentions at Takakia Lake, I thought it would be interesting for people to know how the lake was named.

I have spoken with botanists who visited Takakia Lake and they tell me that the moss, takakia lepi-dozioides is named after Dr. N. Takaki who discovered the moss in Japan in 1951. Its genus has been demonstrated to be in the Northern Hemisphere and has been found in the Himalayas, Japan, Borneo, Aluetian Islands, South Eastern Alaska, Haida Gwaii and found recently at Brooks peninsula Vancouver Island.

There has been considerable scientific research and mystery in trying to discover how this moss reproduces and the reason why the species found in lowland habitats are sterile.

In speaking with Dr. Wilf Scofield a retired botanist from the University of British Columbia who has studied at the lake on several occasions, he said the unique characteristic of the moss at Takakia Lake is that the species is able to reproduce.

"Takakia occurs within a wide elevantional band (75-700 m.) Antheridal1 plants appear confined to exposed windswept, fog shrouded upland tundra and interior-island montane2 sites. Male populations are often locally abundant and occur more frequently and throughout a wider range than do sporophytic3 plants [and] atheridea begin maturing mid-July while those initiated later continue to develop sequentially through the growing season."

In addition, this moss is only one of approximately 90 species of rare alpine, endemic4 and disjunct5 species of plants found on the Islands. Some of these species grow in the montane around Takakia Lake.

Further study needs to be done on what impact any unnatural lowering of the water level may have on the specialized plant life surrounding the lake. As Dr. Scofield pointed out there are no streams feeding the lake so it is difficult to see how it will replenish itself if drained. It is also the only alpine lake that is fairly accessible to botanists for future study of plant life and plant associations on Haida Gwaii.
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