ROCKLAND, Maine — The Rockland-based Island Institute has received a $297,643 grant from the U.S. Commerce Department to help preserve the country’s working waterfronts.

According to a Tuesday release, the grant from the department’s Economic Development Administration will be used to fund research outlining strategies, practical methods and finance mechanisms to address economic challenges and maintain the “resilience and diversity of coastal communities.”

The release noted that changing populations, market forces, environmental changes and regulations can cause economic challenges in coastal communities, “such as a transition of waterfront properties toward residential or recreational uses or a loss of water-dependent industries and working waterfronts.”

“For many coastal communities, there is a strong need to maximize the potential of the waterfront as a driver of economic vitality,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. “This EDA investment will provide coastal communities with strategies compiled from a growing body of knowledge and community-level competencies on how to maintain working, job-creating waterfronts.”

The research will look at preserving water-dependent uses, opportunities to leverage the skills and abilities of the existing labor force and preservation of community culture.

The work will be shared among the Island Institute; the Maine, Virginia and Florida Sea Grant College Programs; the National Sea Grant Law Center; the Urban Harbors Institute and Coastal Enterprises Inc.