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.