A court ruling could mean a delay for Governor Brown's delta tunnel project.

An appeals court says state water officials cannot go onto private property to conduct an environmental study related to construction of two massive tunnels unless they get permission or use eminent domain.

The investigations the state wanted consist of drilling activities and biological sampling.

Stockton Attorney, Tom Keling represents more than 90 land owners with thousands of acres says this certainly doesn't end the project but it does slow it down.

The Department of Water Resources says it has contingency plans. There's no word yet on a state appeal.