JEFFERSON CITY, MO, NOV. 27, 2023 – Elizabeth Kerby, an assistant engineer with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Missouri Geological Survey, has been selected as the department’s Team Member of the Month for November 2023. She was selected for her service to the department’s Water Resources Center and for her efforts while serving as coordinator of the department’s response to the ongoing drought.
Kerby was asked to take on the duties of organizing and leading meetings of Missouri’s Drought Assessment Committee and the related Climate and Weather Subcommittee. These high-stakes responsibilities were previously handled at the program director level and she has shown great competence, efficiency and initiative in working with other state and federal partners.
Kerby’s drought-response duties have also included regularly reporting on drought conditions at commission meetings and providing media interviews about drought conditions and response. All of her actions have contributed to getting much-needed emergency assistance to Missourians affected by drought.
“Despite having only been employed with the department for a little over a year and a half – her first job out of college – Elizabeth has shown great initiative in learning about the multitude of various state and federal assistance available to farmers and ranchers to be better able to serve them,” said Michael Weller, surface water section chief, who nominated Kerby for the award. “As the drought is ongoing, we have yet to see how much more she can accomplish.”
The Drought Assessment Committee is a working group that, when activated by the governor, designates the drought levels for each Missouri county. The committee recommends the activation of drought impact teams and coordinates with activated teams for developing additional assessment information and identifying emergency needs. In addition, the committee makes recommendations to the governor concerning state or regional response and recovery, and is responsible for debriefing following a drought event and revising Missouri's Drought Response Plan, as deemed necessary.
Kerby joined the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in January 2022 and resides in Columbia.