Why become a Water Star community?

First, to be publicly recognized for your good work through designation ceremonies and local and state-wide media releases.

Second, to promote your community as a responsible unit of government and a good place for people to live and businesses to locate and thrive.

Who can become a Water Star community?

Water Star is designed for all types of municipalities including cities, villages, counties and towns. We recognize that larger villages, cities and towns may have an easier time meeting the requirements to be designated a Water Star. The Water Star Steering Committee is interested in working with smaller and more rural municipalities to make this program work well for them.

What is the Water Star program?Monona City Hall

Water Star guides, inspires and celebrates the work that top municipalities of all sizes do to protect and improve their water resources.

Water Star believes municipalities who meet these challenges should be thanked and celebrated. Download the Water Star brochure (pdf) for more information.

Announcing: Summer Webinar Series
Sustainable Strategies
Webinars for Wisconsin's Municipal Professionals

Jointly planned and hosted with the Wisconsin Green Tier Legacy Communities Program and the Town and Country Resource Conservation and Development Inc.


Informative, interactive broadcasts for municipal staff, officials, consultants, state workers and
others interested in helping municipalities protect their natural resources in a sustainable way
3 programs scheduled for Noon-1pm on the third Thursday of July, Aug, Sept
- Free for public and nonprofit sector workers in Wisconsin
$25/program for private sector staff and nonstate residents, or $45/program for two or more sharing single login. Includes documentation of attendance for PDUs.
Sign up once for all three programs in each seasonal series. Only pay for the programs that fit your schedule and interests


Consultants, private sector professional and out-of-state participants register at the Wisconsin League of Municipalities.


Private Wisconsin citizens, local & state government employees and educators register directly at GoToWebinar.

Archived webinar programs



July 17 Program Details:
Pharmaceutical Waste: How much is there and what can we do about it?

Case Study: Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Pharmaceuticals are being detected in our nation’s waterways. Barb Bickford will describe how pharmaceuticals enter surface waters, how much pharmaceutical waste Wisconsin generates, how it is collected and might be reduced, what solutions Wisconsin has developed to address this issue, and how we might fund solutions at the local and state level. Kevin Shafer will talk about pharmaceuticals being found in Lake Michigan near Milwaukee and what the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is doing to minimize their future impact.

Speakers: Barb Bickford, WDNR; and Kevin Shafer, MMSD

Barb Bickford has been Wisconsin DNR’s medical waste coordinator since 1992. She helps healthcare providers manage and reduce healthcare wastes, including pharmaceutical wastes. She is co-chair of the Wisconsin Pharmaceutical Waste Working Group, whose mission is to reduce the impact of pharmaceutical waste on Wisconsin’s environment and communities.


From 2010 to 2013, Barb collaborated with the University of Wisconsin Extension on a project to keep pharmaceuticals out of the Great Lakes. (For more information on this project, see http://www4.uwm.edu/shwec/pharmaceuticals/glri.cfm ) Among other things under the project, Barb developed an online resource, Pharmaceutical Waste Reduction (http://www4.uwm.edu/shwec/pharmaceuticalwaste/index.cfm ). The site offers tools for reducing wastes to healthcare providers and suggestions to individuals and others about what they can do to reduce pharmaceutical waste.

In addition to her medical waste duties, Barb has been a hydrogeologist in the WDNR's Waste & Materials Management program since 1981. Barb is a Professional Geologist and has a master’s degree in Geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kevin Shafer became executive director at the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) in 2002. Prior to this, he served as MMSD’s director of technical services since 1998. As executive director, he is responsible for the overall management, administration, leadership and direction for MMSD in meeting short- and long-term goals and objectives; coordinating the establishment of strategic goals and objectives and their approval by the Commission; overseeing the development of policies and operating plans; and representing MMSD to its customers, bond rating agencies, and the public.


Since becoming executive director, Shafer has been instrumental in providing the regional leadership in implementing grey and green infrastructure in MMSD facilities. He has also advocated and implemented a private property inflow and infiltration program to reduce basement backups in ratepayer homes.

He also coordinated a $58 million long-range planning process that produced the most intensive water quality research ever for six Milwaukee area watersheds. Additionally, under his leadership, MMSD instituted a regional stormwater runoff rule and has been a leader for innovative ways to manage stormwater runoff. Shafer’s leadership has helped improve regional cooperation, most notably with the creation of the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust (Sweet Water), an organization that brings together representatives from the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to improve the region’s water quality. His leadership was recognized through the District’s receipt of the 2012 U.S. Water Prize, awarded by the U.S. Water Alliance.


Prior to joining the District, Shafer spent 10 years in private industry with an international engineering firm in Chicago and Milwaukee, and six years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a past president of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and currently serves as the Chair of the U.S. Water Alliance’s Urban Water Sustainability Leadership Council.

Shafer received a bachelor’s degree in science and civil engineering with a specialty in water resources from the University of Illinois and a master’s in science and civil engineering from the University of Texas.


In 2007, Shafer received a National Award from Kodak American Greenways for MMSD’s pioneering Greenseams Program. In 2012, he was recognized by the University of Wisconsin’s LaFollette School of Public Affairs with the Lloyd D. Gladfelter Award, honoring his career of innovations aimed at implementing green infrastructure. In 2013, he was awarded the Daniel H. Burnham Visionary Award. In 2014, he was honored by the Public Policy Forum with the Norman N. Gill Award for Individual Excellence.


Archived webinar presentations and recordings

2011 2013
2012 2014


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