Riparian habitats are important components of an ecosystem; however, their hydrology combined with anthropogenic effects facilitates the establishment and spread of invasive plant species. We used a maximum-entropy predictive habitat model, MAXENT, to predict the distributions of five invasive plant species (Canada thistle, musk thistle, Russian olive, phragmites, and saltcedar) along the North Platte River in Nebraska. Projections for each species were highly accurate. Elevation and distance from river were most important variables for each species. Saltcedar and phragmites appear to have restricted distributions in the study area, whereas Russian olive and thistle species were broadly distributed. Results from this study hold promise for the development of proactive management approaches to identify and control areas of high abundance and prevent further spread of invasive plants along the North Platte River.
Nomenclature: Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop; common reed, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud; musk thistle, Carduus nutans L.; saltcedar, Tamarix sp. L.; Russian olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia L.