211 S Paterson St, Suite 270
Madison, WI 53703
Tel: 608-251-9131 x14
Fax: 608-663-5971
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Chris Danou

Government Relations Director

Primary Responsibilities

  • Developing and implementing state and federal legislative strategies;
  • Recruiting and cultivating grasstops and grassroots advocates in Wisconsin’s land trust community;
  • Working collaboratively with partner organizations to bolster support for state, federal, and local land conservation funding and policies;
  • Representing Gathering Waters in meetings with legislators, agency staff, and partner organizations;
  • Acting as a liaison between state and federal agencies and Wisconsin’s land trusts;
  • Assisting land trusts with technical policy issues; and
  • Coordinating with the Policy Committee of Gathering Waters’ Board of Directors.

Past Jobs & Experience

Prior to joining Gathering Waters in 2017, Chris served from 2009-2017 as Representative to the Assembly from Western Wisconsin, representing all of or parts of Buffalo, Jackson, Pepin, Pierce and Jackson counties. In the Assembly, Chris served as Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, as ranking member of the Agriculture and Insurance Committees. He also served on Transportation, Rural Development, Fish & Wildlife, and Environment & Forestry Committees. Additionally, Chris was requested to serve on the Speaker's Task Force on Mental Health and the Speaker's Task Force on Rural Schools. He was a member of the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board and the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. He also was proud to serve on the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources Advisory Committee. Chris was previously a Police Officer for the City of Onalaska, serving on the Emergency Response Team and as a School Resource Officer. He received commendations for entering a burning apartment building to evacuate its residents and solving a bomb threat. Chris was also a DNR Park Ranger and worked for The Nature Conservancy as the Door Peninsula Project Assistant.


M.S., Natural Resources (Wildlife Management), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 1997
B.A., History/International Relations, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989

Favorite protected place in Wisconsin

North Bay in Door County, which he initially surveyed while working for The Nature Conservancy.


Chris enjoys hunting (especially wing shooting and waterfowling), fishing, canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. He also enjoys attending his son's La Crosse games with his wife of 21 years, Kate.

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