In October 2011, four Belle Isle-related nonprofits merged to become the Belle Isle Conservancy. The Friends of Belle Isle, Friends of the Belle Isle Aquarium, Belle Isle Women's Committee, and the Belle Isle Botanical Society are all in discussions. City Council was wary about the creation of an authority it does not control. One plan has the Conservancy's board hold at least 5 city government officials. A community meeting is scheduled for November 15 at the Detroit Wayne County Port Authority to introduce the group.

Work to explore and plan the merger was funded by the Kresge Foundation.